UCAS brings annual benefits worth £3.3bn to the UK economy by matching students to courses they might not otherwise have considered, according to a new report.
Posted Mon 12 December 2022 - 13:20

The 2022 UCAS Impact Report analysed survey responses of more than 2,400 students and recent graduates to understand and measure the value UCAS brings to young people, those working in the higher education sector, and employers.

By offering personalised information, advice and guidance on courses, institutions and careers, the report found this makes it easier for students to explore the full range of higher education options, enabling them to make choices they may not have previously been aware of. In fact, 80% responded that having the option to apply for more than one university meant they considered options they had not thought of before.

By making it easier for students to consider and apply to multiple universities, the report said it makes it more likely that they will end up at a higher quality university. This can be particularly important for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Universities are one of the most important drivers of higher skills and productivity in the labour force. On average, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that going to university increases lifetime earnings by around 20%. By pairing applicants with more relevant opportunities, the report said UCAS helps students take full advantage of their potential and offers significant benefits to wider social mobility - in turn providing £3.3bn to the UK economy.

The support available through UCAS is not only for traditional undergraduate degrees. UCAS’ Career Finder platform, which helps students find higher and degree apprenticeships, saw a 56% increase in the number of job searches last year compared to 2020.

UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant said: “Each year, UCAS supports over 700,000 applicants explore 50,000 undergraduate courses across more than 360 universities and colleges. We empower students to make informed decisions through clearer choices and connect them to courses that are more relevant to them.

“Not only does this best serve students’ aspirations and ambitions, with 90% of applicants saying they are satisfied with their UCAS experience, but this report clearly demonstrates how this has significant flow on benefits to the wider UK economy by enabling students to find an institution that fits their interests, skills and future career plans.”

Key findings include:

  • UCAS supports disadvantaged or underrepresented students in navigating the admissions system - 64% agreed or strongly agreed that UCAS helps encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to university.
  • 92% of respondents who were interested in an apprenticeship as well as applying to a university course agreed it would be helpful if there was a single website that contained details of all apprenticeships available - and 54% said they would want this information to be hosted by UCAS.
  • UCAS supports over 100,000 undergraduate applicants from across 200 different countries and territories - 30% of international students said they would be less likely to apply to a UK university or college without UCAS.
  • UCAS is the top source for finding universities and courses - 85% of students said it is their go-to source, ahead of Google (68%)

Read all the findings of the report and UCAS’ plans for progress as it delivers against the priorities it set out in its 2020 – 2025 corporate strategy.

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