According to Ucas, the number of university applications has exceeded the record set before the rise in tuition fees and poorer pupils are now more likely than ever to apply
The number of university applicants has reached a record high as demand for higher education courses continues to rise, according to The Telegraph.Figures published today by the University and College Admissions Service (Ucas) have revealed that, overall, there has been a 2 per cent increase in the number of applications compared with the same point last year.In total, 592,290 applications were submitted to the January 15th Ucas deadline, almost 10,000 more than the previous record, set in 2011, just before the rise in tuition fees.
Breaking down the figures, applications from the EU have risen by 7 per cent, while those from outside the EU have also gone up by 3 per cent overall.Despite the fact that applications from prospective students in the UK have only risen by 1 per cent, Ucas submissions by 18 year olds in all UK countries are now at their highest ever levels. Further analysis of the figures reveals that young people from the UK’s most disadvantaged areas are now more likely than ever to apply to higher education.
The data shows that 21 per cent of disadvantaged 18-year-olds in England applied to higher education courses this year, a 3 per cent rise from 2014. However, better-off sixth formers are still over twice as likely to apply. Speaking at Kingston University later today, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, is expected to say that today’s figures demonstrate the “significant headway” the Government has made to “break down barriers to higher education”.
“There were many who said that the reform of student finance would discourage young people from going to university. The opposite has occurred; numbers have grown, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Commenting on today’s figures, Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “The continuing growth in disadvantaged applicants is welcome, and will narrow the access gap. Nevertheless, there is still a significant gap, particularly to the most selective universities.”
Earlier this week, figures published by the Department for Education revealed that pupils from fee paying schools were twice as likely to attend Russell Group universities and five times as likely to attend Oxbridge, than pupils from state schools. While the figures only reflect destinations of pupils leaving schools and colleges in 2013, Sir Peter Lampl said that more could still be done to ensure that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds were encouraged to apply to university.
The destination data also highlighted the difference in university admissions across the country, highlighting black spots, particularly in reference to the top performing institutions. According to the figures, Coventry, Derby and Doncaster didn’t send any pupils to Oxbridge in 2012/2013. However, today’s figures from Ucas have revealed that the gap in applications is slowly closing. Compared with 2006, prospective undergraduates are now 72 per cent more likely to apply to study at university.
Today’s figures also reveal that:
– over 90,000 more women than men have applied to university this year
– demand from young women is increasing faster than from young men. In England young women are now 36 per cent more likely to apply.
– London has seen the largest increase in demand with 44 per cent of 18 year olds now applying.
Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS said: “Demand for UK higher education, notably from younger people and from EU countries, has continued to rise in 2015. It is heartening to see the gap between rich and poor continue to narrow. However, Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the university think-tank million+, said that there was still work to do to close the gap in admissions: “It is still the case that students from affluent backgrounds are 2.5 times more likely to apply to university than those from less advantaged families and there are significant variations between parliamentary constituencies. “There is clearly unfinished business for the next government to secure educational opportunities for all.”