University entry figures settle down after entry fees blip

Number of students accepted this year up by nine per cent on last year

Education Editor

The number of students accepted into university this year is up by nine per cent on last year's figures, official statistics reveal.

UCAS, the universities and colleges admissions service, said that the rise - which meant 445,820 UK and EU students had been admitted to universities this year - indicated recruitment figures were almost back to the level three years ago, just before the rush to beat the introduction of the new fees of up to £9,000 a year.

A breakdown of the acceptances showed that almost one in three had at least two A grades and a B grade pass at A-level, who therefore could have been recruited under the Government's plan to allow universities to recruit more students provided they had top grade passes.  In all, 111,010 qualified for this route.

"It is good news to see an increase in acceptances compared to last year," said Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK - the body which represents vice-chancellors

"At a time when the 18-year-old population group - the largest group of applicants - has been shrinking, this is also significant."

Universities Minister David Willetts added: "This latest UCAS data shows that acceptances have bounced back.  This year more students are getting their first choice university than ever before."

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