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Fewer students accepted on UK degree courses than last year – Ucas

Graphic by PA Graphics/PA Wire

By Eleanor Busby, PA Education Correspondent


The number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has fallen this year, Ucas figures show.


A total of 414,940 applicants (of all ages and domiciles) have gained a place at university or college – down 2.6% on the same point last year, according to data published by the university admissions service.


For 18-year-olds in the UK, 230,600 applicants have been accepted – down 3.1% on last year.


Overall, 19,010 UK 18-year-old applicants have missed the conditions of their university offer and are now eligible to find places in clearing, compared with 15,090 last year and 17,270 in 2019.


Ucas said 79% of 18-year-old applicants from the UK have gained a place at their first choice university or college, which is down from 81% last year but up from 74% in 2019 – the year before the pandemic.


Nearly one in 10 (9%) have not been placed at their first or insurance choice and are now in clearing, Ucas said, compared with 7% last year and 12% in 2019.


The number of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK to gain places on courses is 25,760 this year, compared with 26,440 last year.


The number of 18-year-olds from the most advantaged backgrounds in the UK to be accepted is 76,780, compared with 79,650 in 2022.


The admissions service said this means that for every disadvantaged student, 2.30 advantaged students progress compared with 2.29 last year.


Overall, 51,210 international students (all ages, all domiciles) have been accepted – down 2.3% on last year. The top three countries/regions with placed applicants are China, India and Hong Kong.


Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: “Firstly, I want to say a huge congratulations to the hundreds of thousands of students up and down the country who are celebrating their results and next steps today.”


“I am delighted to see more than 200,000 UK 18-year-olds have secured their first choice, which is testament to their hard work and commitment to progress to higher education in a year that has seen many complex factors at play, such as geopolitics, the economy and job market, and cost of living.”


“However, today’s data shows that challenges in widening participation to the most disadvantaged students still persist.”


“This demonstrates that we all need to continue the efforts to ensure the most disadvantaged individuals in society are able to benefit from life-changing opportunities in higher education and training, particularly as the 18-year-old population grows.”


She added: “For anyone who may not have got the results they were hoping for, or for those applicants who want to change their mind, there is plenty of choice in clearing with nearly 29,000 courses and 8,000 apprenticeships currently available.”


“We also have a team of advisers hard at work to provide students with expert information, advice and guidance on the phones, social media and on”


Vivienne Stern, chief executive of Universities UK (UUK), said: “This group of students have faced a tough ride but despite that a greater proportion of them have gained a place at their first choice institution versus the last comparable year.”


“For some students who have done better than expected, or just missed out on the grades they needed for their first or insurance offer, there is lots of good advice and guidance available via the Ucas website.”


She added: “It is notable that the proportion of international students accepting places at our universities is the same as last year and down from 2019, knocking down the narrative that domestic students are in some way losing out.”

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