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June 2015

UK student numbers hit a record high

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The number of students placed in higher education in the by application service UCAS has exceeded half a million for the first time, statistics have revealed.

Student accommodation provider Portergate has welcomed the figures which show a strong UK market for higher education.

Some 512,400 people secured places in UK universities and colleges last year – a rise of nearly 17,000 on the previous year.

More UK students than ever were accepted – alongside record numbers of students from outside the country.

The total number of applicants (699,700) almost equalled the levels seen in 2011 (700,200), the year before the introduction of higher tuition fees in England, and applicant numbers have increased from all UK countries.

Universities and colleges made more offers to applicants (+6%) last year, with the number receiving a full set of five offers at its highest ever level (137,300 from the UK and EU).

Placed applicant numbers from all age groups in the UK have never been higher, with the 20-24 group rising by 4.1% to 80,000 and the over 25s increasing by 8.6% to 52,300.

The recent figures also reveal that entry rates from young people in the least advantaged groups have increased to record highs across the UK.

Disadvantaged young people were over 10% more likely to enter higher education last year than they were in 2013.

While the A Level remains the most popular qualification taken by students entering higher education, the entry rate for those holding BTECs has risen once more, with 18 year olds becoming 20% more likely to enter holding this qualification than the previous year.

Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS Chief Executive, said: “While the 2014 cycle marks a return to ‘normality’ after the turbulence which followed the raising of tuition fees and partial exemption from number controls in England from 2012, a market has been created in higher education.

“Many universities and colleges have had to work hard to recruit, making significantly more offers and being flexible in their entry requirements.  This means applicants can afford to be bolder in their choices.”

UCAS provides application services across a range of subject areas and modes of study for UK higher education providers.