Number of UK university applicants drops by 8.7%, reports UCAS

Published: 10 Feb 2012

Number of UK university applicants drops by 8.7%, reports UCAS

School-leavers are deterred by the rising cost of tuition fees

A UCAS report published today reveals the latest applicant data for entry to full-time undergraduate higher education in 2012. The published statistics include all applications considered on time for the 15 January equal-consideration deadline.
UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook said: "There has been a headline drop of 7.4% in applicants with a slightly larger fall in England.”
UCAS also reported on application rates for young people applying to higher education in 2012, as well as rates of application in terms of advantage and disadvantage. Reporting application rates gives a clearer picture of demand because it accounts for annual changes in the population.
Mary Curnock Cook goes on to say: "The more detailed analysis of application rates for young people takes account of population changes. This shows a fall of just one percentage point in the application rate in England, with little change across the rest of the UK.
"Our analysis shows that decreases in demand are slightly larger in more advantaged groups than in the disadvantaged groups. Widely expressed concerns about recent changes in HE funding arrangements having a disproportionate effect on more disadvantaged groups are not borne out by these data.
"However, I remain concerned about the wide and increasing gap between the application rate of men compared to women.
"Although applications are down for mature applicants, this is in the context of some very substantial increases in recent cycles. Applications from mature groups are also set against a backdrop of increasingly higher HE participation rates at their school leaving age.
"The indications are that demand for HE will continue to outstrip the number of places available in 2012. Applications are already 50,000 ahead of the number of acceptances in 2011 and last year UCAS received over 100,000 further applications between January and the close of the cycle."

What the 2012 UCAS figures reveal:

1. Overall figures show that the number of applicants from UK has decreased by 8.7% overall.
2. At this stage of the application cycle there have been 540,073 university applicants, compared to 583,546 in 2011. That is a drop of 43, 473 or 7.4%.
3. So far this year 117,221 people have applied to study engineering at university, compared to 118,823 in 2011. That is a drop of 1,602 or 1.3%.
4. Female applications continue to outnumber male in 2012, with 309,731 women applying to study a university degree, compared to 230,342 men (to date).
5. Applicants from EU countries have decreased by 11.2%, though there has been an increase in applicants from outside of the EU of 13.7%.

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