Over half a million youngsters entered British higher education in 2015


The UK accounted for the majority of people continuing their studies with 463,700, followed by 39,000 from outside of the EU and 29,300 from within the EU. However, the EU generated the highest increase with 11 per cent year-on-year, followed by the UK with 2.8 per cent and outside of the EU with just 1.9 per cent.

2015 has also been a big year for educational disruption on the whole. There has been a greater focus on a digital education as teachers claimed it can improve exam scores, for example.

Peter Kelly, MD, Virgin Media Business, said: “Not only does tech support teachers and improves their ability to teach, but it also unlocks pupils’ creativity and ultimately improves grades.”

Continuing on that theme, exam board AQA introduced Tech-levels to provide more options to young people and also with a view to bridge skills gaps.

This year also resulted in George Osborne issuing an apprenticeship levy during the Spending Review, while Barclays welcomed senior apprentices and Microsoft, Halfords and British Airways were among the many firms to generate 23,000 apprenticeships.

The UCAS study also found that a record 1.9m offers were made to students by universities and 384,100 got into their first choice – more than ever before.

In terms of gender, the entry rate for women aged 18 grew twice as fast as men. As such, women are 35 per cent more likely to enter higher education than men.

With wealth in mind, women from poorer backgrounds are 50 per cent more likely to stay in education than men. Based on the entry rate of females, 36,000 18-year-old men are deemed “missing” from universities.

“Differences in access to higher education between rich and poor are at historic lows,” said UCAS’ chief executive Mary Curnock Cook.

“But with further increases in the gap between men and women entering higher education, we can now see clearly that concentrating outreach efforts on young men, particularly white men, would make a significant contribution to diminishing the rich-poor gap.”

Breaking down race in English state schools, just 28 per cent of people from the white ethnic group entered higher education. This spike to 41 per cent for the Asian ethnic group, 37 per cent for the black ethnic group and 32 per cent for the mixed ethnic group.