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University admissions hit record high

A record number of students found places on full-time undergraduate courses this autumn, with more students from low income households entering higher education than ever before.

The End of cycle 2013 report from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service shows that overall 495,596 students were accepted onto degree courses -- 6.6 per cent more than last year and 0.7 per cent higher than the previous record in 2011-12 before tuition fees were increased.

However, among the largest institutions accounting for 97 per cent of acceptances, 61 per cent took in a total 11 per cent fewer students than in 2011-12. Both medium and lower tariff institutions overall failed to return to 2011-12 intake levels.

Acceptances for students from other EU countries increased by 5.5 per cent to 24,500 after a dip in 2012, but remained below the 2010 and 2011 cycles. Acceptances from outside the EU increased by 5.8 per cent to 37,500, close to the high of 38,300 in 2010.

An 18 per cent rise in the number of 19-year-olds finding places in 2013 redressed a dip last year and pushed the numbers to their new high.

UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock-Cook said this showed that predictions of a reduced appetite for higher education following the tuition fee rise were "premature", and that "the dip in demand in 2012 was perhaps a pause for thought".

But she warned that the UK is still facing a decline in its young population, and this combined with a declining number of pupils taking A levels compared to vocational qualifications is "changing the pipeline for recruitment to higher education".

Get the full picture from HEi-know: Briefing Report 120