The number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has fallen this year, early UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) figures show. In total, 416,310 people have taken up places, down 2% compared with the same point last year.
The fall comes in the wake of a drop in applications to start degree courses at UK universities this autumn, fuelled by factors including a fall in the 18 and 19-year-old population, changes to funding for nursing degrees and the possible impact of Brexit.
Despite the drop, the number of students accepted on to degree courses on A-level day is still the second highest number recorded, the university admissions service said, adding that the fall is driven by a fall in acceptances from older students and fewer students from the European Union.
The initial figures also show:
* The number of UK 18-year-olds gaining a place is 201,270, a similar level to last year, and the highest number recorded on A-level results day.
* A total of 26,090 EU students have been placed, a fall of 3% compared to 2016, but still the second highest recorded.
* The number of international students accepted has increased by 4% to 30,350.
Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said: “The overall numbers of students being accepted onto courses is lower, but it is a complicated picture.
“We are seeing a growing proportion of 18-year-olds going into higher education, and greater numbers of students from our most deprived communities are securing places.
“At the same time, we are seeing fewer older students taking places, and a fall in numbers from the EU.
“Higher education is still a hugely popular life choice, which has a transformational impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year.”