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Record number of students accepted for university degree courses

Published 13/08/2015

A record number of students will begin studying for a degree this year
A record number of students will begin studying for a degree this year

Record numbers of students are heading to university this year, with more than 400,000 already accepted on to degree courses.

As of midnight, 409,410 people had been accepted on to higher education courses in the UK, up 3% - around an extra 13,000 students - compared to the same point last year.

This is the highest number of acceptances recorded on A-level results day, admissions service Ucas said.

Ucas figures also show that around 362,000 students have been accepted on to their first choice of course, up 3% on the same point last year.

The rise comes as the cap on university places in England is lifted, allowing universities to recruit as many students as they want to take.

There have been indications that many top institutions are seeking to take on more students this year, including offering more places through clearing.

Ucas said that there has been a "healthy" 5% rise in the number of UK 18-year-olds finding places, as well as a 2% rise in 19-year-olds. There are fewer acceptances from older students.

But the gender gap has widened again, continuing a trend, with over 27,000 more young UK women due to start courses this autumn than young men.

"More UK 18-year-olds will benefit from higher education in 2015 than in any year previously," Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said. "More students in total have been placed at their first choice, an increase of 3% on 2014.

"This in an impressive outcome, given the slightly slower growth in the UK application rate."

The statistics also reveal:

:: Rises across each of the four UK countries - with the numbers placed in both England and Scotland up 3%, while in Wales and Northern Ireland they are up 1%.

:: A 4% rise in the number of young disadvantaged UK students accepted on to degree courses.

:: Around 24,090 EU students have been placed, up 11%, while acceptances from other international students are up 6% to 29,170.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson, said: "These results indicate record numbers of students will be heading to university in the autumn, including a record level from disadvantaged backgrounds and more taking up science, engineering and maths based courses.

"This is great news and shows that by lifting the cap on student numbers, we are helping more people than ever benefit from higher education and gain the skills that businesses seek to boost productivity and support growth."

The latest figures do not include teacher training courses in Scotland which have been moved into the main Ucas application scheme, the admissions service said.

Ms Curnock Cook said: "I do feel worried about the fact that so many more young women than young men are going to university which I feel in the long term is not going to be a good thing at all.

"I always think that a degree is for life and not just for graduation. It is going to support your career progression over many years of working life."

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