The number of students enrolled at the UCLM similar to that before the Bologna Process

A reduction of just 460 students amounted in the last 6 years, 1.75% less

This is the first academic year, after six years, in which students have made their enrollment in a normalized framework after concluding the Bologna Process, producing nearly equal figures of students enrolled at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) to those at the beginning of this process, with 26,327 students in 2008-2009 with respect to 25,867 students in 2014-2015. Those students enrolled in PhD or Continuing Education programs have not been included in this counting though by doing so, the regional university reaches an average of 30,000 students.

After six years, 2014-15 has been the first academic year in which students have been able to enroll in the Spanish universities within a normalized framework, once concluded the so-called Bologna process initiated in 2008-09. This process involved numerous changes in the structure and duration of university studies, which significantly influenced the number of students enrolled in the Spanish universities. For example, the long first degrees and advanced engineering degrees were modified from 5 to 4 years, with the consequent loss of a full academic year for those students enrolled, whereas short-cycle degrees and technical engineering changed from 3 to 4 years, with the opposite effect on the students enrolled adding a full academic year.

The statistics about university students for the academic year 2014-15, recently published by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, shows that the changes made in the duration of the university studies had their positive effects during the first three academic years (2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12) of the process by changing the degrees from 3 to 4 years at once, while negative effects on enrollment were delayed to be noticed in the last three years of the process (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15), due to the change of 5 to 4 years progressively over time. Once the implementation processes of the Bologna process concluded, the final result is practically neutral as a whole.

The public universities incorporated 31,655 students in the first year of the Bologna process 25,761 in the second and 21,450 in the third, as they lost 20,404, 20,075 and 37,221 in the fourth, fifth and sixth year, respectively. The UCLM presents a similar profile to that of other public universities, having an increase during the first three years of the Bologna process 994, 937 and 314 students enrolled, experiencing a decrease in the last three years of 188, 678 and 1,839, with a softer decline during the fourth year (2011-2012 and 2012-2013) while during the sixth and final year was more pronounced (between 2013-2014 and 2014-2015), due to differences in the adaptation process chosen.

The UCLM has gone through this complex process by maintaining a substantially constant structural enrollment with 26,327 students in 2008-2009 with respect to 25,867 students in the academic year 2014-2015 (-460 students; -1.75%). The final balance of the public universities, as a whole, was of 1,166 students enrolled for more than six years, equivalent to a variation of only 0.10%. It stands out the increase of university students in Andalucía (11,307), Catalonia (8,197) and Murcia (2,480), followed by another group of regions, in which Castilla-La Mancha is included, keeping its positions (along with Navarre, Madrid, Cantabria, Aragon and Valencia) with fluctuations lower than 2%; and a third group experiencing sharpest decreases (5,913 in Galicia, 3,288 in Asturias, 2670 in Castilla y Leon 2,479 in the Canary Islands, 1,677 in Extremadura 1,619 in La Rioja and 1,010 in the Basque Country).

In addition to the factors mentioned before related to the adaptation of the length for the university education, other aspects such as the budgets cuts in the university public funding, the increase on the enrollment prices for bachelor and maters’ degrees and the decrease on university scholarships have adversely affected to the university access since the academic year 2012-13.

Press Release Office, UCLM. Ciudad Real, September the 3rd 2015.

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