Breaking Barriers: Disadvantaged Students Achieve Record Acceptance into Higher Education

The future is bright for disadvantaged students in the United Kingdom, as a record number of them have secured university and college undergraduate places for 2022. The UCAS end of cycle data for 2022, published on December 8th, shows that an unprecedented 32,420 students from the most disadvantaged areas of the UK (POLAR4 quintile 1) have been accepted onto a course, a 4.9% increase from last year.

This not only marks a significant milestone in the education system, but also narrows the entry rate gap between the most and least advantaged to a record low of 2.1. Despite the growth in demand for places, UK 18-year-olds remain undeterred, with 330,780 applicants this year, a 17.8% increase from pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

This increase in demand has translated into a record-breaking 277,315 UK 18-year-olds gaining a place, an impressive 14.8% increase from 2019. Even more encouraging is that applicant ambition has led to 72.3% of placed UK 18-year-olds securing their first choice of course, a number second only to last year’s high.

This year also saw continued demand among international students, with record numbers of accepted applicants from China, India, and Nigeria. Additionally, the introduction of the flagship T-levels saw a high number of applicants receive offers, with 80.2% of them going on to be placed, demonstrating the sector’s embrace of these new technical qualifications.

As the 2023 application cycle begins, higher demand is expected to continue, driven by demographic increases and demand both in the UK and internationally. UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant stated, “This cycle marked a significant shift in the competitive landscape, as students were once again accepted onto courses based on exam results and institutions adapted their approach to offer-making. This makes it even more encouraging to see record numbers of applicants progressing to higher education, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Let us celebrate this momentous achievement and continue to support and empower disadvantaged students in their pursuit of higher education. The future is looking brighter than ever before!

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