Demand for higher education is increasing with young people from across Europe setting their sights on courses in the UK, according to new figures seen by the team at Riverside House student accommodation in Salford.
Statistics released by UCAS 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 figures also show a 7% increase in applicants from the EU and a 3% rise from students from outside Europe.
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.
And in total over 90,000 more women have applied than men, according to the new figures.
Demand from young women is increasing faster than from their male counterparts, widening the gap between them. In England young women are now 36% more likely to apply.
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.”
One of the big changes to higher education in the past decade was the change in tuition fees in England in 2012.
UCAS says higher fees did reduce demand from young people – but do not seem to have slowed the long term trend of increasing demand.
And the organisation says higher fees did not reduce young people’s chances of entering higher education.
A spokesman said: “When we look at entry rates, particularly those that take into account entry at ages 18 and 19, the proportion of the young population entering higher education has continued to increase steadily as higher fees were introduced.”
UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity and the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education.
It manages applications from over 700,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at around 370 universities and colleges across the UK.
Meanwhile, the UCAS Manchester higher education convention will take place on Thursday March 12 and Friday March 13 at Manchester Central.