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UCAS Figures Disappoint

Posted by Richard Ward

The most recent data released by UCAS has been somewhat disappointing, with total acceptances down by 1.6% year-on-year. However, numbers are expected to grow as we reach the end of the cycle and positively acceptances from international students were up by 5.2% (2020: 8.8%). The all-important Chinese cohort has also shown growth, with acceptances rising by 5.0% compared to the equivalent period of 2020.

Whilst acceptances from UK students have risen by 1.4%, growth was more than offset by a 56.4% decline in those from EU based students.

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Source: UCAS

Higher tariff providers have continued to outperform the market, with acceptances at these institutions up by 2.6% year-on-year. In comparison, those at medium and lower tariff providers have both declined, falling by 3.1% and 4.1% respectively.

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Source: UCAS

Another reason for the decline in total acceptances has been a particularly slow Clearing. As of 28 days after results day, 10,590 students have been placed direct to clearing, down from 17,880 last year. This is despite a 24.7% rise in the number of students free to be placed in Clearing. This is partially attributed to a greater number of students achieving higher grades, enabling them to be placed on their first choice of course.

It is also worth providing some context. For example, in 2020, 28 days after JCQ results day total acceptances reached 515,650. By the end of the cycle, this figure grew to 570,475. Therefore, whilst this week's figures may be somewhat disappointing, in a year that is far from 'normal' there could be further twists to come.