For the first time in over a decade, the number of university applications made by 18-year-old women has fallen. With the sharpest drop seen in nursing of more than 18% – a profession where black and minority ethnic people represent up to 40% of the workforce in some regions in England – it does raise some questions about whether young black women are considering alternative journeys to career success.
Since university fees tripled in 2012, there has been much debate about the value for money of a degree. Whilst some argue that getting a degree is as much about the experience as it is the qualification and thus doubly important, plenty argue that there are more beneficial uses of an 18-year-old’s time and money.
For the children of many black immigrant parents, going to university is a complete non-negotiable. As discussed in the 2018 book Slay in Your Lane, black immigrant parents tend to steer children towards obtaining qualifications in law, medicine, and engineering, with fears that more creative pursuits are not secure.