Home > News and blog > Response to latest UCAS application figures for 2018 entry

Response to latest UCAS application figures for 2018 entry

5 February 2018

Universities UK responded today to the latest application figures from UCAS, showing the numbers of undergraduate applications received ahead of the 15 January deadline.

The figures show that, while there was a 0.9 per cent reduction in the total number of people applying to higher education, 18-year-olds are more likely than ever before to apply by the January deadline, 1 per cent more likely than in 2017.

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "This small drop in applicant figures can be attributed largely to the fall in the number of 18-year-olds across the UK population. This group makes up half of all UK applicants to universities. But the demand for courses from 18-year-olds across the UK remains strong, highlighting the continued demand for university education. While the strong demand from 18-year-olds is positive, the continuing drop in mature applicants must be addressed by government if we are going to meet future skills needs. Changes to the way degrees in nursing, midwifery and some other allied health professions in England are funded, is also having an impact on overall application numbers, particularly from older age groups.

"As the latest survey from the Institute of Student Employers revealed, university graduates are in greater demand than ever. The graduate jobs market is expected to grow this year, with an estimated 11 per cent rise in vacancies. If the country is to thrive, particularly in the light of Brexit, it needs more, not fewer, skilled graduates. The benefits of getting a degree remain clear for individuals and for the economy and society."

International applications

Commenting on the EU and international applications, Alistair Jarvis added: "The increase in international applications shows that the UK remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for talented, international students. But it is worth remembering that UCAS undergraduate application figures provide only a partial picture of what is going on in relation to international students. Nearly a half of international (non-EU) students study at postgraduate level, so will not apply via the UCAS undergraduate route. Of those who study at undergraduate level, only around 60 per cent are accepted via the UCAS route." 


  1. The figures relate to the numbers of undergraduate applications received by UCAS ahead of the 15 January deadline, which guarantees all applicants 'equal consideration' by their chosen universities and colleges. For the figures in full, visit the UCAS website

Key Contacts

Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


Hyperbole and illegal cartels – the latest attack on the university sector

5 September 2017
UUK's Director of Policy, Chris Hale, stresses the importance of using language carefully and responsibly when discussing key issues for the higher education sector.

What does the National Student Survey tell us this year?

9 August 2017
​The annual National Student Survey (NSS) results are out. This year is particularly interesting for three reasons, as UUK's Will Hammonds explains.


Universities unveil joint commitment on degree classifications

17 May 2019
A new sector statement of intent will help protect the value of degrees

Universities UK Board election results

13 May 2019
At the close of the Electoral Reform Services (ERS) ballot on 1 May 2019, the following Universities UK (UUK) members have been elected to serve on the UUK Board.