March deadline for UK higher education shows UK applicants down 4% and EU applicants down 6%

These statistical releases describe applicants and applications from the 2017 UCAS cycle at the 24 March deadline. The 24 March deadline is applicable to some art and design courses.
Posted Wed 5 April 2017 - 14:54

Today, UCAS publishes analysis of all full-time undergraduate applications made by the 24 March deadline – the application deadline for some higher education courses in art and design.

View the analysis

There are relatively few additional applicants between the January and March deadlines (typically around 3% of applicants for the cycle apply between these two dates), so the pattern of year-to-year changes in this release are similar to those published at the January deadline.

The number of people who have applied to UK higher education courses for 2017 has now reached 601,770. This is a decrease of 4% (around 25,000) compared to the same point last year – a similar, but slightly smaller reduction than was seen at the January deadline (where the change was a decrease of 5%, around 30,000).

There are now 496,010 UK applicants (down by 4% compared to this point last year) and 45,140 EU applicants (down by 6%), and the number of applicants from other overseas countries has increased by 2% to 60,630.

The current figures for the number of applicants to higher education from across the UK is as follows:

  • 408,500 from England (a decrease of 5% on 2016)
  • 19,950 from Northern Ireland (down 4% on 2016)
  • 46,720 from Scotland (down 1% on 2016)
  • 20,840 from Wales (down 6% on 2016)

There are currently 233,830 English 18 year old applicants to higher education, 1,490 (+1%) more than at this point last year. English 18 year olds are by far the largest group of applicants to UK higher education, making up almost 40% of the total number.

There are now 48,810 applicants to nursing courses (a decrease of 19% compared to this point last year). English applicants to nursing courses number 36,720, 23% lower than at this point in 2016.


Notes to editors

UCAS tables published today (6 April 2017) include applicant numbers by age, sex, country of domicile, country of course provider applied to, and course provider type (higher, medium, and lower tariff), as well as the number of applications (choices) by subject group.

Percentage changes are rounded to the nearest per cent in the tables.

The 15 January deadline is the deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses, but a deadline of 24 March is applicable to some art and design courses. After these deadlines, UCAS will continue to send applications to universities and colleges for consideration up until 30 June. Applications received after that date go into Clearing.

January deadline applicants account for (typically) 85% of all UK domiciled applicants in a cycle, and March deadline applicants account for (typically) 88% of all UK domiciled applicants in a cycle.


In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education that is not included in UCAS' figures. This is mostly full-time HE provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland, and this proportion varies by geography and background within Scotland. Accordingly, figures on applications and application rates in Scotland reflect only that part of full-time undergraduate study that uses UCAS.

In the 2015 cycle, there were also changes to the scope of the data recorded in UCAS scheme for Scotland (including teacher training programmes in Scotland moving from the dedicated UCAS Teacher Training scheme into the UCAS Undergraduate scheme).

About UCAS

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications from around 700,000 people each year for full-time undergraduate courses at over 370 providers across the UK.

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