From the latest Art Review magazine…

“For fine-art [degree] courses [in the UK], this year’s 20,743 applicants were still chasing only around 4,500 places. In other words, art college remains popular — more than four applicants for every place going.”

This is possibly because it’s a good deal. If you never envisage making more than £21k a year, as is the case with a good many artists, then you’ll never have to pay back the loan. Effectively, you’d be getting a free full grant, as in the good old days.