Record number of students from poorer backgrounds apply for university

UCAS said that across the UK, 38,300 students from disadvantaged areas applied for university this year.

Record number of Scottish students from poorer backgrounds apply for university iStock

A record number of disadvantaged students are set to go to university this year, according to data from UCAS.

Application rates for 18-year-olds from socially deprived areas in Scotland were up 21.3%, while across the UK 28.8% of those from poorer areas applied, up from 27% in 2021.

The figures from June 30, the date for final applications, show across the UK 38,300 students from the most disadvantaged areas applied to university this year.

The application gap between the richest and poorest 18-year-olds has narrowed, with the richest applicants rate remaining at 59.5% across the UK. 

Data from the admissions service UCAS shows the overall application rate for 18-year-olds is also at a record high, at 44.1%, meaning a higher number of students are likely to start university in autumn. 

Almost 135,000 international students have also applied, showing an increase of 3% on last year, with the greatest number of applicants coming from Nigeria, rising by 58%.

The number of Chinese applicants also rose by 10% to 31,400 and applications from India increasing by 20%.

Data shows interest in degree apprenticeships is increasing, with a record 2.15 million searches on its CareerFinder service about this route, up by 4.13% from 2021. The searches have resulted in 243,138 apply clicks.

UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant said: “It’s 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 are continuing to support the progression of these students with targeted offer-making that we predict will see record numbers of disadvantaged students start university and college in the autumn.”

“Nearly 30,000 courses are now available in clearing across many courses and institutions,” she said.

“There will be plenty of choice available to students who are unplaced or use clearing as an opportunity to rethink their plans.

“In parallel, we will be supporting students to secure apprenticeships and will proactively ensure all the options available are presented to students during clearing.”

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