UCAS figures reveal a 2% increase in the total number of applicants (592,290) to HE courses in the 2015 cycle compared to the same point last year.
Posted Fri 30 January 2015 - 00:02

Today UCAS publishes analysis of all full-time undergraduate applications considered 'on time' for the 15 January deadline, the first reliable indicator of demand for higher education this cycle.

UCAS figures reveal a 2% increase in the total number of applicants (592,290) to higher education courses compared to the same point last year.

Although this is the highest number ever recorded at this stage, the increase is smaller than in recent years.

  • The underlying* increase for UK applicants is 1%. There is a 7% increase in applicants from the EU and a 3% increase from those outside the EU.
  • Application rates for 18 year olds in all UK countries are at their highest ever levels.
  • Young people from the most disadvantaged areas across the UK are more likely to apply to higher education than ever before, continuing to close the gap on the most advantaged.
  • In total over 90,000 more women have applied than men. Demand from young women is increasing faster than from young men, widening the gap between them. In England young women are now 36% more likely to apply.
  • London has seen the largest increase in demand, with 44% of 18 year olds now applying.
  • Within the UK there has been an increase in 18 and 19 year old applicants, while the numbers of applicants from older age groups have reduced this year.

Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive of UCAS said: “Demand for UK higher education, notably from younger people and from EU countries, has continued to rise in 2015. It is heartening to see the gap between rich and poor continue to narrow.

“Nevertheless, demand has grown more slowly this year and has fallen for mature students. This perhaps reflects improved employment prospects in the UK.”  



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*A large set of teacher training courses in Scotland are being recruited through the Undergraduate UCAS scheme for the first time in 2015, having previously been recruited through UCAS Teacher Training. Around 4,000 applicants in 2015 have made applications only to teacher training courses in Scotland. Removing these applicants gives a better measure of underlying change. UCAS has released two sets of deadline statistics – the recorded totals, and a context set with these applicants removed.

The seven January deadline statistical releases have been published within 'Scheduled statistical releases'.

An Analysis Report looking at population-referenced application rates at the January deadline has also been published.

Coverage of UCAS data

In Scotland there is a substantial section of provision that is not included in UCAS' figures. This is mostly full-time higher education 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. Accordingly, the statistics on UCAS acceptances in these data resources reflect only that majority of full-time undergraduate study that uses UCAS.       

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 over 700,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at around 370 universities and colleges across the UK.

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