Minister welcomes latest increase in applications to Welsh universities
Student application data published today saw a 6% increase in the number of applications to higher education institutions in Wales - the largest increase among the four UK nations.
The figures, published by UCAS for applications up to January 15, also show the proportion of applicants from the most deprived areas in Wales increase by 8% this year.
The proportion of Welsh 18-year-olds applying for university reached a record high, with almost a third applying to higher education.
The proportion of all applicants from Wales who applied to Welsh higher education providers rose to 76.3%, up from 75.5% last year.
Kirsty Williams, the Minister for Education, has radically reformed the student finance system in Wales, with a fundamental shift towards supporting students with their day-to-day living costs.
Wales is the only country in Europe which offers equivalent living costs support for undergraduate full-time, part-time and post-graduate students.
Kirsty Williams, said:
“I’m delighted to see a big increase in applications to Welsh universities.
“This is despite an overall decline in the number of 18 year olds in Wales.
“Welsh universities lead the way in the UK for student satisfaction and research impact and it’s great to see more and more students choosing our universities.
“Our student finance reforms make it easier for all students to manage their day-to-day costs.
“We know this is the biggest barrier to accessing higher education, whether it’s a traditional 18 year old school leaver, someone combining work with study or a student from a non-traditional background going on to do a Master’s.
“Our figures show our reforms are working and I am determined to keep opening up higher education to more people and I’m especially pleased to see the gap between the most advantaged and disadvantaged applicants narrowing.”
Notes to editors
- Wales bucked the UK trend with a 6% increase in the number of applications to Welsh institutions, despite a more pronounced demographic dip in the number of 18 year olds than the rest of the UK.
- In the UK overall, providers in Wales experienced the largest change in applicant numbers by 15 January. Welsh providers collectively received 62,320 applicants by 2020, a 5.8% (3,420) increase following three years of decreasing applicant numbers. This can be attributed to a 22.2% (1,110) increase in applicants from non-EU countries, and increases of 6.2% (2,170) for applicants domiciled in England.
- In 2020, the 18 year old population of Wales experienced a 3.2% year-on-year decrease. This means, although the number of 18 year old applicants has fallen by 1.8% this year to 10,620 applicants, the proportion of Welsh 18 year olds applying has reached a record high, with almost a third of all 18 year olds (32.7%) applying to HE. The proportion of applicants from Wales who applied to Welsh providers grew from 75.5% to 76.3% in 2020.
- The proportion of the 18 year old population who made an application has increased in the most deprived WIMD quintile to 21% in 2020 (1,450 applicants) from 19% in 2019 (1,350 applicants). Whereas, the same proportion in the least deprived WIMD quintile has decreased slightly to 48% in 2020 (3,200 applicants) from 49% in 2019 (3,280 applicants). This shows that the gap between the most advantaged and disadvantaged applicants is narrowing slightly.
- The proportion of the Welsh domiciled 18 year old population who made an application has increased slightly in POLAR4 quintile 1 (area of lowest rate of participation in HE) from 20% in 2019 (1,550 applicants) to 21% in 2020 (1,600 applicants). Whereas, the same proportion in POLAR4 quintile 5 (area of highest rate of participation in HE) has remained the same at 53% (2,300 applicants in 2020).