The number of part-time undergraduate students enrolled on law courses fell by 14 per cent in 2012/13, with overall law student enrolments falling by 5 per cent.
Higher Education Statistics Agency data shows that although full time undergraduate numbers fell by just 3 per cent, from 59,405 to 57,865, as was predicted by the hike in tuition fees, part-time undergraduate numbers fell from 12,395 to 10,675.
Full-time postgraduate law student numbers fell by 6 per cent, from 14,045 to 13,185. The number of part-time postgrad students in 2011/12 stood at 7,725. This figure fell to 7,465 during the next year, a fall of 3 per cent.
Overall, part-time undergraduate numbers fell by 19 per cent and the figure for full-time undergraduate decreased by 2 per cent. Full-time postgraduate numbers tumbled by 4 per cent while part-time postgrads decreased by 7 per cent.
The figures bear out fears voiced by the academic community. Last year, a Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) report on the drain on part-time course enrolments found that numbers of part-time students fell by 40 per cent from 2010 to 2013 (19 March 2013).
Universities UK president professor Eric Thomas responded to report by saying: “We have been concerned for some time about recruitment to part-time courses.
“Part-time study in the UK has a very important role to play in meeting the needs of students, particularly mature students, and the UK’s future skills agenda. It must also contribute towards improving social mobility.”