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Gap year numbers falling

24 May 2007

Gap year numbers falling New research suggests that the numbers of UK students taking gap years are falling - as more and more worry about debt, personal safety and the environment.

The Guardian has reported research by STA Travel, which reveals that out of the 14,000 people who asked the company for travel advice this year, only one in five actually went on to travel.

Phil Murray, director of independent advisory service Gapadvice.org, said: "The numbers of young people taking time off between school and university are certainly falling.

"Society has changed so much in a single generation that while there only used to be good reasons for taking a year out, now there are equally good reasons not to."

Mr Murray cited concerns over student debt as one factor deterring travel.

He claimed that many students are becoming more inclined to try and earn money before university to try and cover some of the debts they will inevitably accrue during their studies.

According to Mr Murray, concerns have also been voiced by students over the environmental impact of travel.

In recent years there has also been an increase in the number of companies offering three-month trips in between school and university. These are usually less expensive and preclude the need for students to defer their studies.

Recent figures from Ucas have revealed that while 23,354 young people deferred their entry to university in 2006, only 22,656 have applied to do the same in 2007 - even though the total numbers going to university have gone up.

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