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AoC responds to UCAS January 2023 application data

09 February 2023

Today’s UCAS data shows a fall in the number of people applying for higher education in 2023. There is also a notable fall in the number of applicants aged 18 and 19, despite a demographic rise in that cohort. This is not a surprise, because 16-18 enrollments are now on a downward trend which appears to result from young people choosing work instead of education.

The data also depicts that despite an increase in the number of applicants from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and the number of applicants from the UK’s most disadvantaged areas is the second highest on record, the application rate gap between the most and least disadvantaged has widened. More needs to be done to address the widening inequalities and promoting student choice.

Crucially, there is a direct link between the reduction in post-16 public spending the college sector has seen in recent years and the reduction in the percentage of young people in education. At a time when the UK needs more of its population to get higher level skills, short-term decisions around funding mean there are fewer people able to access that important training.