University applicants 54% more likely to have offers in 2016 than in 2011, End of Cycle report notes

DailyBUzz-1024x553UCAS has published it’s 2016 Undergraduate End of Cycle Report,which evidences UK HE patterns in offer rates, acceptance rates, and enrolments.  It also is able to highlight other important socio-economic aspects such as fair access and widening participation, gender gaps, and international recruitment.

This year, there were 718,400 applicant which is relatively the same as applicants last year, but acceptances increased from last year by half a percent.  Applicants were also more likely than last year to land a place in their ‘first choice, which is an ongoing trend.


We also saw an increase in 18 and 19 year old UK acceptances, which was the highest number on record so far.  Meanwhile, however, applicants for those over 20 fell significantly with a 2.9 percent drop from those aged between 21 to 25 and an overall 1.7 percent drop from those over 20.


The report also reveals that when comparing to ten years ago, students from the lowest income families and students from the Black ethnic group are 80 per cent more likely to go to university.  Although this of course is a great accomplishment, there remains large gap in equality:

Simply because of combinations of characteristics such as income, sex, ethnic group, and where they live, some young people are four times more likely to enter higher education than others in their peer group. When we consider those universities with the highest entry requirements, that differential is more like ten times, meaning some universities are seemingly out of reach for great swathes of the population, by accident of birth.

While education is a key element for social mobility, the higher education sector will need help if it is to tackle the challenge of such widening inequalities.


Additional highlights from the report were, of course, related to EU and international student acceptance, being the first full analysis since the June UK Referendum.  In October, UCAS published its ‘first statistical release of the 2017 undergraduate cycle‘ which headlined fears of declining EU applicant numbers due to Brexit’s impact on Higher Education, however those results only detailed courses with an early October deadline.


Today’s report indicates that acceptances from the EU actually increased by 7 per cent, with significant ‘increases from Poland (+27 per cent), Germany (+21 per cent), Spain (+18 per cent), and Bulgaria (+9 per cent).’

Findings also, however, revealed that the number of acceptances from non-EU countries fell for the first time since 2011 by 2.3 per cent:

This fall in numbers was the result of both a decrease in the number of applicants, which decreased by 1.9 per cent (1,500 applicants) to 74,300 in 2016, and a decrease in the acceptance rate, which fell by 0.2 percentage points to 51.6 per cent, the lowest recorded value. The acceptance rate of non-EU applicants is relatively low compared to the acceptance rates for EU and UK applicants.

eoc16_figure_1 eoc16_figure_2

The results of this year’s End of Cycle has already been highly politicised in the media as papers such as those supportive of more control over immigration, ie The Sun and The Telegraph, have headlines suggesting a ‘surge’ of EU students with British poor ‘kids’ less likely to win a spot.  The Times has decided to focus on ‘a record number of people’ getting their ‘first choice of university’, while Times Higher Education suggests standards are dropping as highly selective universities lower the bar.   



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