UCAS’ data insights

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 - 08:42
UCAS data insights
Are you aware that UCAS holds the most up-to-date data for applications to HE in the UK?

Recently, we’ve introduced the ability to provide data on campus location, including in the live cycle. This data shows where applicants are going, and if linked with applicant domicile, you can also see where those applicants are coming from.

We release statistics and response for UCAS Undergraduate applications at key points and deadlines, covering patterns and trends across the year. This data can be used to give insight into the market, and help with your planning and strategies.

Free data and analysis is available on ucas.com, and deeper data and analysis can be purchased from UCAS Media. 

2018 UCAS end of cycle data

The full 2018 end of cycle data became available in January. 2018 was another challenging cycle for many higher education providers – this year, there was a decrease of 0.6 per cent of applicants to undergraduate degree level courses in the UK. Contrary to this, the total number of acceptances has remained relatively stable, with just a 0.1% decrease.

/files/market-trends-and-insights-summary">Market trends and insights summary

Market trends and insights summary

This relative stable state of acceptances could be due to the change in nature of the way in which applicants applied. There is still an increased appetite to apply direct to Clearing – it’s a buyer’s market, students are savvy and know they can make a late decision and still get a place. As well as a rise in direct to Clearing applications, we’ve also seen a rise in applicants withdrawing themselves, even when they are placed. 

Proportion of direct to Clearing acceptances by applicant domicile

In 2018, the highest proportion of direct to Clearing accepts were from applicants domiciled in London, with the South East, and North West following. 



/files/who-applying-direct-clearing">Who is applying direct to Clearing

Who is applying direct to Clearing

Proportional difference in acceptance 2017/18 by age

The number of 18 year old applicants has decreased, due to the demographic dip. In contrast, and in a change from the decreases seen over the previous two cycles, mature acceptances have increased by 6.7%.

/files/proportional-difference">proportional difference

proportional difference

UK vs. international

At the end of the 2018 cycle, EU and Non-EU applicant numbers increased year on year, while the number of UK applicants decreased. Non-EU applicant numbers were the highest on record.

/files/uk-v-int">uk v int

uk v int

81,325 international applicants were accepted in 2018. China received the largest number of international acceptances, and France was the biggest EU market, although acceptances were fewer than in 2017.

/files/number-acceptances">number of acceptances

number of acceptances

Looking forward to 2019

This year, a total of 561,420 people from all domiciles and all age groups applied to higher education through UCAS by the 15 January deadline – an increase of 0.4 per cent from this point in 2018. Overall, UK domiciled applicants have decreased by 0.7 per cent, while applicants from outside the UK have increased to their highest levels on record, for both EU and non-EU countries. EU applicants increased by 0.9 per cent to 43,890, and non-EU applicants increased by 9.0 per cent to 63,695. Although EU applicant numbers have increased by 0.9 percent overall, they have decreased in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with the only increase being in England, where they increased by 1.9 per cent to 37,595 (the second highest number on record after 2016).

/files/proportional-difference-2018">proportional difference 2018

proportional difference 2018

/files/applicant-numbers-domicile">Applicant numbers by domicile

Applicant numbers by domicile

Where to get additional data and insight

If you would like to find out more about UCAS’ data insights, please contact Lou Deer, Insights Consultant, at [email protected], or on 01242 544 757

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