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Clearing 2015: What we’ve learnt so far…

18 September 2015
Eleanor Jubb

Eleanor Jubb

Policy Manager
Universities UK
Students on campus

In previous years, the majority of changes during Clearing have happened over this first weekend. So, with UCAS having released updated data on Monday morning on who has been placed at university, where and to do what, what changed this year?

As of Monday morning, 452,990 applicants had been accepted to undergraduate courses – an increase of 3% since last year. That means that over two-thirds of applicants have already found a higher education place this year, 83% of them at their first choice university. We’ve also seen the number of students accepted via Clearing increase. By Monday morning over 29,000 applicants had been accepted through clearing, an increase of 6% on the same point in 2014.

The number of students accepted to universities and colleges in England has increased by 3.6%, with increases in accepted applicants from all domiciles ranging from between 2.7% (for those applicants permanently residing in England) and 14.4% (for those applicants in the EU excluding the UK). The number of students accepted in Scotland and Wales have also risen, but by smaller amounts (1.4% and 0.7% respectively), while the number of students accepted in Northern Ireland has fallen by 5.4%.

The number of students accepted via UCAS who count as ‘young’ (under 20 in UCAS’s definition) is buoyant. Applicants aged 18 and 19 who have found an undergraduate place are up 3.7% across the UK as a whole and in England are up by as much as 4.1%. The number of mature applicants accepted via UCAS has fallen by 1.3% in the UK this year, but in Scotland mature applicants who have been accepted for study are 6.1% higher than they were last year, and in Wales they’re up by 1.1%.

The increase in accepted applicants has benefitted almost all subjects of study. The biggest increase has been in a language subject – non-European languages – which by Monday morning had increased by 13.6% from 2014, reversing the decline it suffered in 2014. European languages and linguistics and classics (which includes English language and literature) have also increased, by 2.8% and 3.8% respectively, offering heartening news to linguists.


Continuing a trend from previous years, STEM subjects have also had increased from 2014, with students accepted onto courses in biology up by 10.1%, in engineering by 7.7% and in maths by 5.6%.


This blog was amended on 20 August 2015 to correct data relating to the number of students accepted by country of institution.

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