A record number of poorer students are expected to go to university, according to the latest data from the Ucas admissions service.
Figures for 30 June, which was the final date for applications, show the application rate for 18-year-olds from the UK’s poorest areas was 28.8%, up from 27% in 2021 and up. 10 percentage points more than in 2013.
This means that 38,300 students from the most disadvantaged areas of the country have applied to the university this year, said Ucas.
In Scotland alone, there was a record proportion of applications from poorer students, with 21.3% of applications coming from disadvantaged students.
The application gap between the poorest and wealthiest 18-year-olds has also narrowed, with the UK-wide application rate for the wealthiest students remaining the same as in 2021 at 59.5%.
The Ucas data shows that the overall application rate for UK 18-year-olds, at 44.1%, is also a record and is likely to lead to a large number of students starting university in the autumn.
As of June 30, more than 683,650 applicants had made more than 3 million applications.
Almost 135,000 international students also applied, an increase of 3% from 2021. The number of Chinese applicants increased by 10% to 31,400, while applications from India increased by 20%. Applications from Nigeria increased by 58%.
Ucas found that interest in undergraduate apprenticeships is growing, with a record 2.15 million unique searches on its CareerFinder service on this path, up 4.13% from 2021.
Searches have resulted in 243,138 app clicks, an increase of more than 6% from the previous year.
The Ucas data also shows that 490 people have become the first T-level students to apply to university this year. The qualification, which was introduced in 2020, is a two-year course broadly equivalent to three A-levels, involving practical experience such as a 45-day industry placement.
Ucas CEO Clare Marchant said: “It is really encouraging to see students from disadvantaged backgrounds apply in record numbers, despite the disruption the pandemic has caused to young people’s education.
“Ucas’ analysis shows that universities and colleges continue to support the progression of these students with targeted offerings that we predict will see a record number of disadvantaged students start college and university in the fall.”
He said there will be a “major effort” over the next few weeks across the education sector to support more than 700,000 students in transitioning to the next stage of education, adding that he believes a record number of students will get their choice. sign the day of the results.
“About 30,000 courses are now available on compensation in many courses and institutions,” he said.
“There will be many options available to students who are not placed or who use compensation as an opportunity to rethink their plans.
“In parallel, we will be supporting students to secure learnings and proactively ensuring that all available options are presented to students during the cleanup.”
Kevin Gilmartin, post-16 specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are very pleased that there are a record number of college applications this year from disadvantaged students.
“It is a reflection of how much support school and university leaders, teachers and support staff have given them.
“We hope that the large number of applications will turn into real offers and acceptances, and that the gap between the most disadvantaged students receiving places in the most competitive universities, compared to their more advantaged peers, will begin to narrow.”
He said the ASCL would be looking at the number of T-level students going to college “with real interest,” as if T-level students were going into higher education in large numbers, rather than going on to further technical training, defunding BTEC made no sense.
The data also showed a drop in the number of nursing applications, with an 8% drop in the UK from the previous year.
The general secretary and chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Pat Cullen, said this is “further proof” that things are “going in the wrong direction” during a labor crisis that is compromising patient care.
He added: “With the largest drop in applications from mature students, financial pressures are at play and the prospect of taking on more debt when inflation is rising is too much.
“The increased interest from 18-year-olds is a testament that nursing inspires the next generation, but the profession is highly diverse and built on attracting people of all ages and walks of life, often as a second career.
“Ministers around the world must prioritize attracting the next generation to fill vacancies, starting with fair pay.
“In England, removing one of the main pathways by removing BTECs in health and social care risks compounding the drop in application numbers. Ministers also have the power to strengthen the future of nursing by funding tuition fees and providing higher maintenance grants.”
Andrea Jenkyns, Minister for Skills, Higher Education and Higher Education, said: “It is fantastic to see a record number of 18-year-olds from the most deprived areas applying to university. This is a real level-up in action and a catalyst for genuine social mobility.”