According to the Telegraph, Cardiff was the 6th fastest growing University in the UK as a % increase in numbers. Interestingly it was the largest University in the top 10. At the same time there was a drop in applications? So what is going on? It could be that they are dumbing down their entry standards. I'd question whether they are likely to do that given their prized membership of the Russell Group and the fact that they are already near the bottom of the group in terms of entry standards.
I've worried for a while about the possible impact of higher tuition fees on the Uni, though maybe the fact Cardiff has a relatively low cost of living (without being a dump) appeals to students at this moment in time? And of course the Welsh Government is not raising fees for Welsh students.
It would be interesting to see how the applicants are spread around i.e how many of these applicants are from Wales and Europe (they pay the same fees as the Welsh) in comparison to England and outside of the E.U. I'm not sure how big a role tuition fees have in this as Welsh students pay cira £3,000 in all UK universities thanks to the WG not just in Wales as it was when I applied.
Some schools are actively putting off applications, for instance my School would often have a 10 to 1 ratio of applicants to places. We would interview less than a third as a lot of the applicants don't hit minimum requirements so the message is don't apply to us, there are other options etc etc What we are left with, in theory, is a better applicant cohort and a much higher bar to clear to enable enrolment.