UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is an independent charity and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education.

UCAS is an independent charity that exists to fulfil our charitable purpose, which is acting as the national shared admissions service for students, universities and colleges.  As a charity, our work must be for the “public benefit” and is non-profit.

To support our work as a charity, we have a trading subsidiary, UCAS Media Limited (UCAS Media) which generates income through working with commercial partners to offer a range of products and services which are provided to both our student customers and universities and colleges, as well as businesses and employers. These services include targeted marketing and insight, displaying career opportunities, and information, advice, and guidance on areas that support the education journey, for example, accommodation, travel and bank accounts.

UCAS Media only works with companies which meet commercial activity criteria approved by UCAS. 

You can find out more about how our company activites support the charity here.

We generate revenue from:

  • application fees paid by applicants
  • capitation fees paid by universities and colleges for each student who is accepted
  • income generated by our wholly-owned subsidiary, UCAS Media Ltd, which gift-aids its profits to the charity

We don’t get any direct financial support from the government. That's why we have commercial activities to help us deliver our charitable objectives and keep costs down for students and education providers.

Our Board is made up of a balance of Trustees from higher and further education backgrounds, including three heads of providers of higher education and independent Trustees.

What do we do?

In 2023, our undergraduate admissions service handled almost 3 million applications from 752,025 UK, EU, and international students. We’re proud to have helped 554,465 students secure a full-time place at one of over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

We also help UK conservatoires (UCAS Conservatoires) by providing an information, advice, and admissions service, and advice on connecting the world to UK higher education by providing a single multilingual gateway for international applicants to discover the best of UK undergraduate and postgraduate study under the trusted UCAS brand.

We want to make this process easier for everyone. That's why we publish a growing volume of data and analysis, all of which is freely available to download and re-use from our data and analysis pagesAcross the 2023 cycle, in our UCAS Undergraduate applicant releases, end of cycle data resources, and daily Clearing analysis, there were over 8 million data points available to download, covering applicants, provision, and providers.

While our core business is admissions to full-time undergraduate education, we've also got big plans elsewhere. Our Corporate Strategy for 2020-2025 sets out our aim to:

  • inspire and empower people to make aspirational choices about higher education and learning
  • deliver trusted and flexible admissions services for the digital age
  • be the go-to place for higher education data-driven insights
  • connect the world to UK higher education
  • embed efficiency and value in everything we do
  • be an employer of choice where people flourish, perform, and achieve

We know that there are many routes to higher education. By embracing the wide perspective of the student journey – including apprenticeships and employment – we can help make alternative options more widely-used.

Want to know more?