Increase in undergraduate applications to higher-tariff institutions

17 February 2022

In response to the UCAS applications figures for undergraduate courses starting this Autumn published today (17 February 2022), a Russell Group spokesperson said:

"A high-quality university course helps students learn the skills that are crucial to both their future success and the wider economy more generally. It’s good to see demand for those skills continues to be robust with an increase in applications for undergraduate courses to higher-tariff institutions. It’s particularly pleasing to see an overall increase in applicants from the most disadvantaged areas.

"Despite a highly competitive environment and the challenges of the pandemic, the UK remains a popular choice for students around the world, reflecting the quality of the sector. The strong growth in applicants from India and Nigeria, prioritised in the UK’s International Education Strategy show efforts to attract students from new countries are beginning to pay dividends.

"Demand for higher education is expected to rise in the next decade, on top of a demographic increase in the number of 18-year-olds. To guarantee quality and student choice can be maintained, it is vital that the Government prioritises long-term sustainable funding for teaching on a per student basis."

Further information

  • The Office for Students (OfS) has estimated that the real terms value of the fee has fallen 17% since 2012/13, while OfS funding for teaching per full-time equivalent student (FTE) has declined by 19.3% since 2018/19. 
  • UCAS has predicted that the number of applicants to university is expected to rise from around 700,000 a year to more than a million by 2025. 
  • ONS data shows that from 2021 the number of 18 year olds is set to increase, and between 2020 and 2030 this number will increase by 25%.
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