Dear University of Essex,
I am requesting for the following information. Please kindly provide data for 2019/2020 admission cycle.
1. List of all postgraduate taught courses for 2019/2020
2. Number of applicants (all postgraduate programmes)
3. Number of offers made (all postgraduate programmes)
4. Number of Chinese applications and offers made (all postgraduate programmes)
Thank you for your enquiry dated 19th November, received by us on the same date regarding 2019-20 postgraduate taught admissions statistics. Your request will be handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within 20 working days.
In the meantime if you have any questions, please let me know.
Clare Chatfield, BA (Hons), PC.foi
Freedom of Information Team
Innovation & Technology Solutions
University of Essex
T +44 (0)1206 872285
E [University of Essex request email]
Thank you for your enquiry dated 19^th November, received by us on the
same date concerning 2019-20 postgraduate taught admission statistics.
Your request is being handled under Freedom of Information Act
conditions. Please see our response below:
Please kindly provide data for 2019/2020 admission cycle:
1. List of all postgraduate taught courses for 2019/2020;
2. Number of applicants (all postgraduate programmes);
3. Number of offers made (all postgraduate programmes); and
4. Number of Chinese applications and offers made (all postgraduate
In response to question 1 please find attached an Excel spreadsheet which
contains a list of the post graduate programmes offered by the University
of Essex for 2019/20.
With regards to the information that you have requested in questions 2 to
4, please see below:
I can confirm that the University holds this information but in this case
we will not be providing it as it is exempt from disclosure. We are
withholding the information requested above as we consider that the
exemption under Section 43(2), Commercial Interests, of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 applies to it.
Section 43(2) of the Act states that:
(2) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this
Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of
any person (including the public authority holding it).
Section 43(2) is a class based qualified exemption which requires a public
interest test to be conducted to consider whether the public interest lies
in favour of disclosing the information or in maintaining the exemption.
Please see below.
Section 43(2) of the FOIA provides a qualified exemption on the disclosure
of information where the information would be likely to prejudice the
commercial interests of any person.
Factors Favouring Disclosure
The University recognises that there can be a public interest in
understanding student recruitment patterns, trends and procedures. There
is also a general public interest in the disclosure of this information to
ensure transparency and openness of a public organisation.
Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure
The 2019-20 admissions cycle is still active which means that the release
of the requested information could significantly weaken our current market
position by allowing competitors to have a better understanding of our
market share strategies and thus adapt their plans accordingly.
Consequently the University’s position in this specialist market would be
undermined as competitors would be able to tailor their own admission’s
strategies to match or exceed our own targets.
Information about applications and offers is commercially sensitive
because it is a key asset in developing and implementing the University’s
marketing, recruitment and offering strategies. These in turn directly
affect the University’s ability to recruit high quality students on whose
fees and achievements the University’s financial and reputational success
Disclosing this type of information is likely to prejudice the
University’s ability to compete effectively and fairly in the highly
competitive higher education market as it forms the basis of the way in
which the University structures its business, which is one of the factors
which distinguishes the University from its competitors. It also
discloses and gives unfair insight into the University’s marketing,
recruitment and offering strategies for the current recruitment cycle to
University admissions figures are routinely published through HESA,
fulfilling the public interest requirement. Where an individual
institution releases figures individually ahead of HESA releases this
could give other institutions a competitive advantage. China is a
particularly competitive market as it is fast growing and universities are
competing for a share in that market.
Giving due consideration to all of the points above, whilst we appreciate
that the public have a right to know about student recruitment patterns,
trends and procedures, we feel that disclosure of this information would
be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the University.
Therefore, on balance we feel that non-disclosure of the information
outweighs disclosure and it is therefore in the public interest to
withhold this information under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.
I am sorry that we are unable to provide you with the information that you
requested. You have a right to ask us to review this decision within 40
working days of receipt of this response and you can do that by contacting
our Registrar & Secretary, Bryn Morris, through [email address].
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of a review then you have a
further right of complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone: 08456 30 60 60
Or 01625 54 57 45
There is no charge for making an appeal.
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