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Record numbers secure university places

18 August 2016

UCAS figures today show that 424,000 students have been accepted to UK universities and colleges so far this year, up 3% on A level results day in 2015.


Responding to the record figures, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Applications and acceptances to university have increased again this year, building on three years of growth. In particular, the application rates for UK 18-year-olds are at record levels, despite there being a population decline for this age group.


“While higher education is not the right choice for everyone, the benefits of getting a degree are clear. Official data shows skilled graduates are still in a substantially better position to obtain a job and, on average, earn substantially more than non-graduates over a working lifetime.


“Success in higher education, however, should not simply be measured by how much graduates go on to earn. A degree also helps students develop a range of other important life skills, from the ability to think critically, to analysing and presenting evidence. Higher education is also about making life-long friendships with people from all parts of the world and developing as an individual. Graduates make a hugely important contribution to society and the economy, for example, developing careers in nursing, the charity sector, the arts and setting up businesses.


“For applicants who got the grades required in their offer, they will secure their place at university this year. For those students who did not get the grades they hoped for or did not get any offers, they will have the option of using the Clearing system. Last year, a record 64,300 students used Clearing to find the right course for them. This year, we expect there will be even more courses on offer and similar numbers finding places by the end of the Clearing period.”




  1. This is the highest number recorded on A level results day. There are 201,000 UK 18-year-old applicants placed, +2% on 2015 despite the population falling by 2.3%. Young people from the UK are 4% more likely to have been placed in higher education than last year. The latest figures are available on the UCAS website


  1. The government's latest Graduate Labour Market Statistics show that in 2015, graduates and postgraduates had higher employment rates, with a greater proportion in high-skilled employment, lower unemployment rates, lower inactivity rates and higher median salaries than non-graduates. Across the working age population, graduates earned £9,500 more than non-graduates, on average.

Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK



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