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UCAS 2018 End of Cycle Analysis

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

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End of cycle data released by UCAS highlights the change in acceptance rates across institutions and points to some clear winners and losers in 2018.

Nationally, total acceptances have remained almost unchanged (-0.1%) on the previous year but the long-term trend remains positive, with 14.7% more acceptances in 2018 compared to 2012.

However, main scheme applications have declined for two consecutive years, with 2.4% fewer in 2018, compared to 2017. This decline is somewhat reflected in main scheme acceptances too, which fell 1.7% year-on-year, although they remain 11.4% higher than 2012.

These declines were almost entirely offset by a 7.0% rise in non-main scheme acceptances. Acceptances via this route have grown by 29.8% since 2012, indicating that clearing has become an increasingly important entry route.

Whilst national long-term trends remain mostly positive, there are substantial differences at an institutional level.

Russell Group Universities have continued to perform well and while total acceptances were almost unchanged for these institutions in 2018, they were 22.1% higher compared to 2012.

Russell Group Universities also recorded significant growth in acceptances from non-EU students, which jumped 7.1% year-on-year, versus growth of 5.0% on a national basis.

At an individual level, the University of Sunderland performed extremely well, with a 67.4% increase in total acceptances in 2018 to 3,515.

Other top performers include Leeds Arts University, which reported a 25.0% rise, as well as the University of East London (21.2%) and the University of Bolton (18.8%).

Meanwhile, Nottingham Trent recorded significant growth in acceptances from non-EU domiciled students, which jumped a massive 327% to 640, whilst Coventry University was able to maintain its recent growth by posting a gain of 38.9%.

At the other end of the scale the University of Leicester recorded a year-on-year fall in total acceptances of 18.3%, whilst Reading was unable to maintain its positive momentum, posting a fall of 14.6%.

Meanwhile, Heriot-Watt University recorded a 15.7% fall in total acceptances, whilst Aberystwyth University recorded a 12.9% decline. Also, of note was a 51.7% fall in non-EU acceptances at Sheffield Hallam University.

The latest figures indicate that the competitive landscape is resulting in some obvious winners and losers in terms of student numbers, with higher ranked institutions such as Russell Group Universities continuing to perform more strongly.