Some highlights from their press release and report issued on 19th December:
- 512,400 students were accepted onto full-time courses, of which 447,500 were domiciled in the UK. Both of these figures are record highs for UCAS.
- An 8.6% increase was recorded in applicants over 25 being placed (a total of 52,300) – also a record high. By way of example, the chart below shows the changes in applications and acceptances for UK domiciled individuals aged 35+ between 2010 and 2014 (data taken from table 3, page 104 of the report).
- However the gender gap is widening – the percentage point difference in entry rate between women and men aged 18 is more than 8% – 34.1% vs 25.8%.
These figures suggest a number of things to me:
- That the disruption caused by the changes to the tuition fees regime seen in 2012 was temporary – people (of all ages) still perceive a university or college education to be a worthwhile investment.
- The increase in the numbers of mature students is encouraging, but it will be interesting to see if similar increases have been recorded for those studying part-time when HESA release their figures in 2015.
- Although more 18 year olds than ever are attending university, UCAS notes that the widening gender gap means that there are some 32,000 fewer young men in HE than if they achieved the same entry rate as women. They must be doing something though. Perhaps the increase in the number of apprenticeships seen in the last few years has proved to be a more attractive post-18 route for men rather than women?