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21st Sep 2018
The number of prospective students applying to UK higher education courses for 2017 as of the June UCAS deadline, has fallen 3.7% year-on-year to 649,700.
The decline means there are just over 25,000 fewer applicants applying for courses starting in 2017 compared to the same point in time a year earlier.
At a domicile level, the number of applicants from the UK was reported at 529,620, a decline of 4.4% whereas those applying from other EU countries fell 5.0% year-on-year to 49,250.
Applicants applying from the outside of Europe rose compared to this time last year, increasing by 1,530 or 2.2%. However, applicants from outside of the EU represent just 10.9% of total applicants. As a result, the number of students applying for courses in 2017 fell by 25,190 (-3.7%) year-on-year.
Despite the number of applicants applying from the UK falling compared to the same period last year, the number of those applying aged 18 continued to increase. There are around 321,950 18-year-old applicants, an increase of 1,510 on last year. This latest increase takes the total proportion of the 18-year-old population who have applied to higher education to 37.9%, up from 37.2% the period year, and the highest level ever recorded.
Elsewhere, it appears the government's decision to remove NHS nursing bursaries has had a direct impact on the number of applications to nursing courses. Overall, there are 53,010 applications to nursing course, a decline of 19.2% year-on-year. Those applying to nursing courses from the EU, excluding the UK, declined by 23.7%.
Commenting on the latest statistics, Dr Mark Corver, UCAS Director of Analysis and Research, said: "With the main application period at an end, the total numbers of people applying are down 25,000 on last year, around 4%. Within the figures, there are contrasting trends. The decrease in applicants is driven by falls from England, Wales and the EU, but applicants from other overseas countries are up 2%. Within the UK, older applicants are down, but applicants from the key 18-year-old age group have increased again to 321,950, supported by a record application rate from young people in England of 37.9%.
"How these trends translate into students at university and colleges will become clear over the next six weeks as applicants get their results and secure their places, and new applicants apply direct to UCAS' Clearing process."
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