Offer rate for A-level students applying to top universities drops to 55%

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The offer rate for A-level students applying to leading universities has fallen significantly, and medical and dental courses are even more difficult to access than in previous years, according to data from the Ucas admissions service.

Universities with higher fees, including those in the research-intensive Russell Group, have tightened their offers, with the proportion of applications resulting in an offer falling from 60.5% in 2021 to 55.1% this summer.

Meanwhile, less than 16% of applications to study medicine and dentistry, which are among the most competitive courses, resulted in an offer this year, down from 20.4% in 2021, leaving some of the applicants disappointed. highest achieving students in the country.

The figures, published on Wednesday, confirm last week’s Guardian report which found that many students forecast A* at their A-levels, who in previous years would have received offers from many of their preferred institutions, instead received a series of of rejections.

Matt Western, the shadow minister for higher education, said: “Labor urged ministers to work with universities last summer, we have a plan for this year’s results almost a year ago, but once again the government has sat on their hands. The government must finally work with the universities to ensure the future of young people.”

According to Ucas, the universities are looking to stabilize the number of students after an increase in the last two years amid the Covid pandemic. The global supply rate stands at 66.4% compared to 72% in 2019, before the pandemic.

Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said the trend was likely to continue in the coming years as universities face a growing number of applications due to the rise in the number of 18-year-olds in the UK population. United. This is projected to continue for a decade, increasing by 2% to 3% almost every year. The number of international students is also growing.

She said the 667,000 applicants in 2022 who made nearly 3 million applications were “both records for this point in the cycle and are likely to be broken every year for the foreseeable future. One million applicants by 2026 is still a very real prospect.”

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Writing in a blog for the Higher Education Policy Institute, Marchant said: “Universities and colleges have responded to the surge in applications by exercising more restraint in their offerings.

“And some universities are choosing to stabilize their student numbers after the growth of the last two years. This means that the overall offer rate is 66.4%, compared to 72% in 2019, and this is also an indication of future cycles as universities and colleges adjust to have more applicants.

“This reduced offer rate means that fewer students who applied to higher-fee colleges have four or more offers at high-fee colleges compared to last year.”

Marchant said that although offer rates had declined across the board, applicants from the most disadvantaged backgrounds were the least affected, down less from 78.8% last year to 75.1%. This is likely to be determined by the type of institutions and courses students apply for.

“However, the stark gap between the most and least advantaged persists, with an 18-year-old living in an advantaged area being 2.86 times more likely to have a strong option than their counterpart in a disadvantaged area,” Marchant wrote.

More than 43% of UK 18-year-olds applied to university before the January deadline. According to Ucas, 281,500 of them have a firm offer, 7,000 more than last year and the highest on record, of which 117,000 have offers on providers with higher rates, the second highest figure on record.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We want all students with the ability and talent to study at university to be able to do so, and last year a record number of students secured university places, including a record number of students from 18 years. older people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Every year there is competition for places in the most popular universities and in the most popular courses, but the government works closely with the higher education sector to ensure that students can progress to high-quality courses that lead to good results”.

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