Ben HaywardJuly 10th
2019

A record number of 18-year-olds in England have applied for a place at university this year, according to official figures from Ucas released today. 

Statistics from the admissions service show 236,350 school leavers - 40% in total - had applied to attend university by this year's deadline of June 30th, nearly 4000 more than last year.

However, the rise in England stands in contrast to other parts of the UK, with the number of 18-year-olds in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland applying for degree places having fallen.

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Northern Ireland, where 47% of 18-year-olds applied, saw over 500 fewer applications from school leavers than in 2018, Scotland recorded 600 fewer applications than this time last year and in Wales, where 33% of school leavers applied, there were 220 fewer applications than last year.

The number of young people from the UK applying has increased by 1% despite a 1.9% drop in the overall 18 year old population of the UK. 275,520 young people applied in total this year – up from 272,920 in 2018. but down from 278,130 in 2017.

The figures also show there are record numbers of black, Asian and mixed race 18-year-old applicants and - despite uncertainty over Brexit - the number of applicants from the European Union has risen by 540 from 50,120 in 2018 to 50,660 this year alongside an 8% increase in applicants from outside the EU applying to UK universities.

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Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said: “With clearing now open, there's plenty of choice for everyone at the end of the year. The post-qualification application route is available as a plan A for many, with over 17,500 using it to apply with results in hand last year.

"There are opportunities for a new direction on over 30,000 courses at ucas.com, for anyone who's already applied and now wants to change their mind, as we've streamlined the process for those reconsidering their original choices.”

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England's universities minister Chris Skidmore said it was ‘fantastic’ to see record rates of 18-year-olds applying to university, and was also particularly pleased to see increasing numbers of applications from international students.

Mr Skidmore said: “These figures show we are making good progress in our ambition to open up world-leading higher education to anyone who has the potential to benefit from it, and I'm confident that we can go even further."

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