Student Demand Forecasts

Steve Blunn made this Freedom of Information request to University of Leicester

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by University of Leicester.

Dear University of Leicester,

Could you please provide your projections for the number of full-time students expected to attend the institution over the next 5 years, or as far forward as you have projections for?

Where possible can this be split by full-time undergraduates and full-time postgraduates per campus.

For example:
2018: X full-time undergraduates and X full-time postgraduates
2019: X full-time undergraduates and X full-time postgraduates:
etc

Yours faithfully,

Steve Blunn

Dear Steve

I write to acknowledge receipt of your request, dated 31st August 2018 made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The effective date of the request, i.e. date of receipt of your request by the University of Leicester for processing, is 31st August 2018 and that the latest date by which the University must respond under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is 28th September 2018.

I will arrange for the information to which you are entitled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to be supplied to you as soon as reasonably possible, and in any event within the period set out by the Act.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding your request.

Regards,

Christine Taylor
Information Assurance Officer

Information Assurance Services,
University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

t: +44 (0)116 252 5308
e: [email address]  
w: www.le.ac.uk

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26th September 2018

Dear Steve

F2115 Response to request under Freedom of Information Act 2000
Refusal in respect of the request

I write on behalf of the University of Leicester in response to your request, dated 30th August 2018 made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You requested the following information:

Could you please provide your projections for the number of full-time students expected to attend the institution over the next 5 years, or as far forward as you have projections for?

Where possible can this be split by full-time undergraduates and full-time postgraduates per campus.

For example:
2018: X full-time undergraduates and X full-time postgraduates
2019: X full-time undergraduates and X full-time postgraduates:
etc

Our response is that where the University does hold information in relation to the question you have asked it is refusing your request for the reasons set out below.

Notice of Refusal – Exemption under s43 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Commercial Interests

The Prejudice Test

The University considers that disclosure into the public domain of the information requested in would prejudice the commercial interests of the University of Leicester specifically in relation to student recruitment. The University depends on student fees, thus it has a commercial interest in maintaining the assets upon which its recruitment depends. These assets include strategically important data which could enable its competitor universities to deduce its recruitment strategies.

The University has taken in to account the following factors in determining whether the release of the information requested would to prejudice its commercial interests:
• The University conducts its commercial activities in a very highly competitive market place in direct competition with other HE institutions.
• Government policy is that the HE market place should be competitive in the interest of students and the wider public.
• Most Public/Government funding now follows the student so this increases the pressure on a university to recruit sufficient students not only
to cover its costs but to ensure its courses remain of the highest quality, attract the best academics as teachers and remain viable, particularly
where they help to meet government objectives in terms of skills need in the economy.
• The information sought is commercially sensitive because it informs the decisions taken by the University about how it structures its business;
it would enable its competitors to have insight into the University of Leicester’s strategies and investments in the field of student recruitment
upon which its marketing strategy is based.
• The University’s ability to recruit both home and international students is of critical importance to its business, a key indicator of its market
position and the success of its recruitment strategy. The release of the information requested would significantly prejudice its ability to
compete in a globally competitive market.

Having taken all these factors into account the University has concluded that, if the information were to be disclosed, its ability to compete fairly in the global HE market would be prejudiced. The University considers that the prejudice aspect of the exemption is therefore engaged.

The Public Interest Test

Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption so the University is required to undertake a Public Interest test to consider whether the public interest in disclosing the information is outweighed by the public interest in withholding it.

The University acknowledges there is public interest in the University’s student recruitment being as transparent as possible, and placing in the public domain information relating the numbers of students being recruited to UK HE institutions alongside information about public funding for those students.
The University also considers there are other factors which should be taken into account against the Public interest in disclosure:

• There is public benefit in universities being able to compete fairly –and the Governments seeks to ensure this through its regulation of markets
and competition.
• Harming a university’s ability to recruit high calibre students on a fair and level basis with its competitors could undermine its ability to operate
and thus reduce the considerable public good it generates in terms of its important role in training the skilled workers of the future; its
research programmes and in the generation of new knowledge and intellectual progress; its role in driving economic growth and resilience; its
contribution to the wider community and culture, and in generating economic activity as a large employer in its locality and region.

Having weighed all the arguments the University believes there is a greater public interest in the University withholding the information which outweighs the public interest in disclosure. As such we find Section 43(2) to be fully engaged and the information requested will be withheld.

If you have any concerns or wish to complain or appeal about any aspect of this response then in the first instance please contact the University's Data Protection Officer (Mr Parmjit Gill: 0116 229 7946, [email address])

Please be aware that it is also your legal right under Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act, to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision whether a request for information made to the University has been dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Act. It should be noted that there is a requirement that there will be no undue delay in making the application and there is an expectation that the complainant will have exhausted the University's internal complaints procedure.

Complaints to the Information Commissioner should be addressed to:
FoI Compliance Team (Complaints)
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding the above.

Regards,

Christine Taylor
Information Assurance Officer

Information Assurance Services,
University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

t: +44 (0)116 252 5308
e: [email address]  
w: www.le.ac.uk

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