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United Kingdom: Applications and enrolments in higher education institutions

Over the past two months, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) have published important data on applications and enrolments in higher education institutions in the United Kingdom (UK).

In December, the UCAS End of Cycle 2012 report was released. This report includes data on the first students applying under the new tuition fee regime. The average tuition fee of UK acceptances at English higher education institutions was GBP 8 389 (EUR 9 704). The results show that the total number of applicants in 2012 dropped by 6.6% to 653 600, a decline of about 27 000 students. On the other hand, the overall acceptance rate increased to 71.1%, almost one percentage point higher than in the previous academic year. However, according to UCAS, “this increase was not enough to offset the decrease in total applications”. Other key results include the growth in entry rates for disadvantaged 18 year-old students, which was especially marked in England, Wales and in Northern Ireland. The report states that in 2012, 18 year-olds from disadvantaged areas were 40% to 60% more likely to enter higher education than they were in 2004. Also among 18 year-olds, the proportion of women entering higher education was much higher than men’s. The report says that women were a third more likely than men to enter higher education in 2012, adding further that “women remain more likely to enter higher education than men are to apply.”

In January, UCAS released the figures on applicants for full-time undergraduate higher education for the 2013 application cycle. These statistics include students who have applied until 15 January. After initial concerns over declines in applications due to the figures released in October and November, the most recent UCAS figures show that there has actually been an increase of 3.5% in applicants to UK institutions, compared to the same period last year. The results also indicate that applications from disadvantaged, mature and international students have increased.

UCAS – End of Cycle report 2012 UCAS - UK application rates 2013