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UCAS Data Highlights Market Trends

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The latest UCAS data shows there has been a 0.6% decline in applications to full-time undergraduate degree courses in the UK for 2018-19.

Despite the fall in applicants to 695,565, the total number of acceptances remained almost unchanged at 533,360, falling just 0.1% year-on-year.

The decline in applicants brings the number to its lowest level since 2013, however this fall is partially attributed to a reduction the population of UK 18-year-olds.

Acceptances from UK domiciled students declined 0.8% from last year, however EU and non-EU acceptances rose 3.8% and 4.9% respectively. This suggests that UK higher education continues to be an attractive option for non-UK applicants, despite concerns that Brexit could lead to a reduction in acceptances.

This year marked the second year since new funding arrangements came into force for nursing and midwifery. This year the number of applicants to nursing courses declined for the second year in a row. The 7.6% fall was much lower than the 17.6% decline reported last year but takes the number of applicants to its lowest point since at least 2010.

Despite a substantial fall in applications, acceptances to nursing and midwifery courses declined by just 0.3% to 28,540, making it the third highest on record.

Meanwhile, analysis of applications and offers continues to highlight increased competition in the market. Between 2012-2018 applications to lower tariff institutions have fallen by 8.9%, whilst offers have risen by 3.8%. This suggests lower tariff institutions are broadening their offers to combat a reduction in underlying demand.

In comparison, over the same period applications to higher tariff institutions have risen 20.3%, whilst offers have grown 32.4%.

Unconditional offers are also on the rise, which again may reflect an increasingly competitive market, as institutions vie for students.

The number of unconditional offers made to 18-year old applicants has risen from 2,985 in 2013 to 67,915 in 2018. Unconditional offers now account for 7.1% of all offers made to this age group, compared to 0.4% in 2013.