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University applications rising, latest figures reveal

Ucas stats show late surge in 2013 UK applicants


There has been an increase of almost 3% in UK university applications on last year, despite pre-Christmas figures showing a drop in demand – but numbers are still down on the previous year.

‘On time’ application figures taken up until the 15 January deadline show that 475,587 people have applied to start an undergraduate degree course this autumn, up 13,080 on the same time last year, according to figures from admissions body Ucas, but still down 6.1% on 2011 figures.

The proportion of English 18-year-olds applying in 2013 has increased by a modest one percentage point, the figures reveal.

For step-by-step information and advice on university applications, and to compare undergraduate degree courses, head to Which? University, Which?’s free and independent higher education website.

Delayed university application decisions?

Those starting university this autumn will be the second intake of students under the new tuition fee system, which enables universities to charge students a maximum of £9,000 a year in course fees.

Almost 210,000 applications were submitted within the month leading up to the January deadline. December figures had shown a drop of 6.3% on the same point in 2012’s application cycle.

There was also a particular increase in the number of 19-year-old applicants, up 10.5%. Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: ‘The significant increase in 19-year-olds applying may be indicating that some young people delayed their decisions about higher education after leaving school last year.’

Uni student trends

The only UK drop came from Welsh students, with applications down by 2.1%. Applications submitted by Scottish students increased slightly by 2%, while there was an increase of 7.1% in applications from students living in Northern Ireland.

The figures also show a similar increase in applications from other EU students, up 5.7%. Application rates from disadvantaged 18-year-olds are also at, or close to, record levels.

The gender gap in applications evident in 2012’s cycle remains, with women a third more likely to apply to higher education than men.

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