Record numbers of school leavers in the UK have applied for undergraduate university courses this year, The Guardian reports.
School leavers have been undeterred by the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the government’s warnings about “low value” degrees, figures from university admissions body Ucas suggest.
Ucas said that overall increases in applications and offers of places meant the highest ever number of students would be starting university or college courses in the autumn.
A total of 311,000 UK 18-year-olds applied for higher education places by its end of June deadline, 10 per cent more than the previous record of 281,000 last year.
The total number of applicants through Ucas, including mature and international students, also hit a new high of 682,000, with a record 400,000 women applying.
Nursing courses are rising in popularity, possibly as a result of Covid: nearly 66,000 people of all ages have sought places this year, a 19 per cent increase compared with 2020. Applications for medicine and dentistry places were up by 23 per cent.
Universities have responded to the extra demand by increasing their offers of places, including a 20 per cent rise since 2019 in offers to students living in disadvantaged areas. Ucas said it had also seen record traffic and applications on its site for degree apprenticeships.