Demand for undergraduate higher education

Posted: 23 July 2013


UCAS today publishes a detailed report exploring demand for full-time undergraduate higher education in the UK in the 2013 admissions cycle compared to previous years. This is based on applications for courses made up to 24 March 2013. At this point, almost all main scheme applications have been received and a full picture of demand emerges.

In order to measure trends in demand accurately, application rates (which take account of population changes through time) are used.

The report examines trends in demand by age, sex, advantage and disadvantage, region and ethnic group, as well as the nature of demand by institution group, subject and tuition fee.

The main findings of the report are:

  • Demand for higher education from young people is at or near record levels for each country of the UK in 2013.
  • Application rates have increased to high, medium and low tariff institutional groups in 2013.
  • Application rates for 18 year olds in England have risen in 2013, resuming historical trends.
  • Application rates for young, disadvantaged groups have increased to new highs in England.
  • There is a wide variation in the application rates of English pupils by ethnic group, and there has been a large (70 per cent) proportional increase in the application rate from pupils in the Black ethnic group since 2006.
  • Analysis of application rates by English regions shows that whilst relative demand is highest from pupils in London and lowest in the North East, patterns are changing over time with demand growing fastest amongst pupils in the North West.

Commenting on the analytical demand report published on Tuesday 23 July 2013, UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook said:

“Young application rates for higher education are rising again after falls in 2012 and the gap between rich and poor is closing as disadvantaged groups are applying at record levels.

“Our new analysis of demand by ethnic group shows that white pupils at English schools now have the lowest application rate of any ethnic group. There has been significant growth in demand from black pupils.

“There are eye-catching regional variations in demand, with the north of England generally showing higher growth rates than the south.”

About UCAS

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. The charity manages applications from over 650,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at over 300 institutions across the UK.

Please call the UCAS Press office on 01242 545469 for more information or email