Record numbers of disadvantaged students from across the UK are set to enter higher education this autumn, new UCAS data published today (Thursday 14 July 2022) shows.
Posted Thu 14 July 2022 - 00:01

The data from 30 June 2022, UCAS’ final date to apply to up to five courses at the same time, shows:

  • Record application rate from UK 18-year-olds in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods across the UK – application rate for POLAR4 Q1 was 28.8%, up from 27% in 2021 and over 10 percentage points higher than in 2013. That means 38,300 students from the most disadvantaged areas of these countries have applied to higher education this year
  • In Scotland, there was also a record proportion of 18-year-olds from disadvantaged areas - 21.3% from SIMD 20 (an index used in Scotland)
  • The application rate for the most advantaged 18-year-old students across the UK remains the same at 59.5% (POLAR Q5), which represents a significant narrowing of the application gap between the most and least advantaged students compared to last year

Other key findings:

  • The overall application rate for UK 18-year-olds at 44.1%, also represents a record high and is likely to lead to record numbers of students starting higher education this autumn. By 30 June 2022 deadline, more than 683,650 applicants (+1.6k on 2021) made 3,049,000 applications (+93k) via UCAS
  • Nearly 135,000 international students have applied – an increase of 3% since last year. China has increased 10% – there are now 31,400 applicants from China with applications from India growing by 20%
  • Applications from Nigeria have increased by 58%
  • Interest in degree/higher apprenticeships is growing – UCAS’ Career Finder, which helps students find jobs and degree/higher apprenticeships, saw a record 2.15 million unique searches in the last 12 months, up 4.13% from June 30 in 2021. These searches have resulted in 243,138 apply clicks, an increase from 228,124 last year (+6.58%)
  • 490 people have become the first T level students to apply to higher education

Clare Marchant, Chief Executive of UCAS, said: ‘It’s really encouraging to see students from disadvantaged backgrounds apply in record numbers, despite the disruption the pandemic has caused to young people’s education.  

‘UCAS’ analysis shows that universities and colleges are continuing to support the progression of these students with targeted offer-making that we predict will see record numbers of disadvantaged students start university and college in the autumn.

‘Over the next few weeks, we’ll see a huge effort across the education sector to support more than 700,000 students begin the next chapter in their educational journey and we believe that record numbers of students will get their firm choice this year on results days.   

‘Nearly 30,000 courses are now available in Clearing across many courses and institutions. There will be plenty of choice available to students who are unplaced or use Clearing as an opportunity to rethink their plans. In parallel we will be supporting students to secure apprenticeships and will proactively ensure all the options available are presented to students during Clearing.’

Explore the 2022 cycle applicant figures – 30 June deadline


UCAS Press Office


07881 029 025

Notes for editors 

About UCAS’ 30 June deadline

All applications, sent to UCAS by 18:00 BST (UK time) on this day, are sent on to the chosen universities or colleges. Applications received after 30 June will automatically be entered into Clearing. Clearing is UCAS’ process where we recommend matches for applicants to any higher education courses that are yet to be filled. It is available to anyone who has made a UCAS undergraduate application and does not hold any offers. 

About UCAS

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

Our services support young people making post-18 choices, as well as mature learners, by providing information, advice, and guidance to inspire and facilitate educational progression to university, college, or a degree apprenticeship. 

We support 1.5 million students every year to explore entering higher education, employment and apprenticeships and manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK. 

We also provide a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, careers services, professional bodies, and employers, including apprenticeships.

We’re a successful and fast-growing organisation, which helps hundreds of thousands of people every year. We're committed to delivering a first-class service to all our customers — they're at the heart of everything we do.

Related news