31 Jan 2014
The university think-tank million+ has welcomed a 4% increase in the number of applicants to higher education courses starting in 2014, which was confirmed in statistics released today by UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. The figures demonstrate a long term gradual rise in applications to higher education from younger students from more disadvantaged backgrounds who are now almost twice as likely to apply to university as they were in 2004.
However, million+ has warned that the upward trend should not be used by Ministers as an excuse to cut Student Opportunity funding which is allocated to universities and has said that closing the participation gap is not a ‘job done’.
The statistics also point to significant regional variations and a growing gender divide. Since 2004 applications from London have increased by 41% compared with only a 16% increase in the South-West. So far 87,000 more women than men have applied to start university courses in 2014, a 7,000 increase compared to the same period in 2013.
Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of university think-tank million+ said:
“Rising applications from those from more disadvantaged backgrounds is good news for the economy and will deliver life-transforming opportunities for thousands of young people. However there is still a long way to go to close the participation gap, significant regional variations and a growing gender divide so this is not a ‘job done’.”
“Any cuts to the Student Opportunity funding would undermine this good news story and the work of universities which have led the way in ensuring that higher education is accessible to people whatever their background or age.”
“While many of the overall figures are promising, the Government still has to tackle the significant imbalance between regions, and the need for a national strategy to improve the attainment and entry into higher education of young men is all too obvious.”
Notes to Editors
1. For further information or to arrange an interview with Pam Tatlow, please contact Victoria Robinson, Press and Communications Officer, million+ on 07527 336 795.
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at: www.millionplus.ac.uk
3. The figures released by UCAS, set out the number of full-time undergraduate applications received as at 15 January. However many applicants and in particular older applicants apply after 15 January which is not the closing date for 2014-15 applications.
4. The UCAS data on full-time undergraduate applications will be published on the UCAS website.