UCAS early application data

14 August 2008

Director General of The Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“The Russell Group of Universities welcomes the significant increase (6.7%) in undergraduate applications this year (and if nursing applications are included, this figure is as high as 8.9%). The largest rise in applicants this year is from English domiciles of 10.1%.

“We are particularly encouraged that there has been a rise (7.4%) in the proportion of applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds amongst under 18 year-olds.*  Russell Group Universities are deeply committed to ensuring that talented students from every background have the chance to benefit from a degree. 

“But we recognise that there is a great deal of work still to be done. We have dramatically increased the amount of money committed to outreach and widening participation and invested in many new and innovative projects in our determination to improve the socio-economic mix in our student body. Much of this resource is devoted to raising aspirations and informing students – from young children to mature learners – about higher education, encouraging those at school to continue their studies post-16 and facilitating their entry to a course at our universities. Often Russell Group universities do not directly benefit from these activities as many pupils who receive this help apply elsewhere, but we recognise our role in helping all students to fulfil their potential.

“The UCAS data also demonstrates that the UK continued to be a destination of choice for international students. This early round application stage has seen a rise of 10.7% from international (non-EU) students.

“The Russell Group maintains its clear commitment to both excellence and equity through the provision of world-class education, research and innovation.”

* There would have been a greater rise in the proportion of applicants from low-income backgrounds had UCAS continued to calculate these figures based on under 21 year-olds.

  • Applicants continue to rise: There was an increase in 6.4% from last year based on the same population of applicants. Overall, the number of applicants rose by 8.9% as nursing and midwifery courses (NMAS) have now been included.
  • Lower socio-economic backgrounds: There was an increase of 7.4% of early applicants aged 18 and under from lower socio-economic groups. Overall, 24.9% of total early applicants were from lower socio-economics groups in 2008.
  • English students: The greatest growth in applicants was from prospective English students with an increase of 10.1%, up to a 23.3 % increase of English applicants 25 and older.
  • Courses: The most popular courses were: law, pre-clinical medicine, psychology, English studies and Management studies.
  • International students: Overseas students applying for entry also increased by 10.7%. The greatest increases were from: Bulgaria, Canada, Norway, Singapore and China.

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