THE number of students applying for places at York's universities has increased, despite the pandemic.

And both the University of York and York St John University say the level of applications from international students "look promising".

Both universities have seen the number of student applications rise for young people wanting to start their studies in September 2021, compared to last year.

A University of York meeting heard this could mean some job losses are not needed to tackle the impact of the pandemic as "the sound student recruitment position meant that workforce planning measures such as redundancy would not need to be implemented at this stage".

A spokesperson for the university said: “Our positive position reflects the high level of demand and level of confidence in studying at UK universities, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

"If a student’s choice is York, we will do everything we can to welcome them, and although students may not be able to visit our campus at the moment, we have developed a range of virtual and digital opportunities to get to know us and make the right choice.

“There are still challenges ahead, but we remain resilient and committed to providing an outstanding education for our students.”

However the minutes of the university's council meeting says redundancies cannot be ruled out as the future remains uncertain.

York's universities employ thousands of members of staff. A 2019 study found the University of York alone contributes £603 million to the region's economy.

York St John University has also seen applications rise - particularly for international students.

Matthew Taylor, director of admissions, said: “After a turbulent few months, York St John University is pleased to see a slight increase in UCAS applications for the 2021/22 academic year. We’ve also seen a rise in international interest for both our York and London campuses.

"We have started to deliver a comprehensive support plan for our applicants, which will help them through every step of the process of making their choice of university. We’re currently offering virtual visit events but hope to welcome people onto campus as soon as it is safe to do so.

"We continue to support our students to achieve their learning outcomes during and beyond the restrictions resulting from the pandemic."

City of York Council education experts say that despite negative stories around university students' experiences elsewhere in the UK during the pandemic - with many self-isolating in accommodation and being taught remotely - schools and colleges are seeing more students than usual applying for places.

A report says: "Anecdotally, they suggest that students see no prospect of undertaking traditional gap-year activities, such as short term employment or global travel, due to the pandemic. Students also realise that the possibilities of moving directly into long term employment will be extremely limited due to the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy."

"Going to university is therefore seen as the most positive option for many."