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Applicants and entrants to higher education: Social Indicators page

Published Monday, November 27, 2017

Brief snapshot of changes in applications and entrants to HE via UCAS

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The total number of home applications via UCAS rose in each year between 1999 and 2005.  There was a 4.1% drop in 2006, the first year of 'variable' fees.

The drop in 2006 was greater than that seen in 1998 - the previous change to tuition fees.  Both were preceded by relatively large increases in applications.

There was a return to the upward trend in 2007; applicant and acceptance numbers reached new records which were exceeded in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Applicant numbers fell in 2012 with larger falls among those who faced fees of up to £9,000. The total was 7.6% down; accepted applicants were down by 5.5%.

Applications from home/EU students bounced back to a certain extent in 2013 with an increase of 3.4%.  A record 495,000 home and overseas applicants were accepted in 2013; 6.6% above 2012.

Applicant numbers rose again in 2014, but did not beat the 2011 level until 2015. Total acceptances reached new records in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as did the entry rate for young people overall and for those from the most 'disadvantaged' areas.

The largest percentage increases in 2015 and 2016 acceptances was among EU students at 11 and 7% respectively. This could, in part, be connected to lifting the cap on student numbers.

Applicants for 2017 were down by 4% at the end of June (pre-clearing) deadline. There were larger falls among those from the EU, older age groups and those from England wanting to study nursing.

The drop in EU numbers has been linked to Brexit and the fall in nursing applications to the ending of bursaries for student nurses.

These UCAS data cover full-time/sandwich undergraduate courses. As mature students are much more likely to study part-time, they are not as well covered by these data.



Commons Briefing papers SN02629

Author: Lydia Jackson

Topics: Higher education, Students

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