Almost 100,000 more women than men applying to UK universities as gender gap grows

Despite disparity, overall people are more likely to apply than ever before

Alison Kershaw
Thursday 12 July 2018 00:00 BST
The gap between the numbers of men and women applying to university has widened since 2013
The gap between the numbers of men and women applying to university has widened since 2013

The gulf between the numbers of men and women applying to university has widened, official figures show.

New Ucas statistics reveal almost 98,000 more women than men had applied by the end of last month to start degree courses this autumn.

The figures are likely to spark fresh debate about why there is a gender divide.

The latest Ucas data also shows the overall number of people applying to university has dropped, but that there has been an increase in EU applicants.

Overall, 367,300 women, of all ages, had applied to university by 30 June – the last deadline for applications.

In comparison, there were 269,660 male applicants – a gap of 97,640 students.

Last year, 96,300 more women had applied by this point.

The gap has closed slightly since 2016, when there was a gulf of 103,910.

But it has widened compared to five years ago (2013), when there were 86,630 more female applicants than male.

Students who wish to apply after 30 June do so through clearing, the annual process that matches applicants with courses that still have places.

The overall statistics show that as of this point, 636,960 students had applied to start degrees this autumn, down 2 per cent on 2017.

There were 511,460 UK applicants, down 3 per cent on last year, with England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all seeing falls.

But the number of EU applicants has risen by 2 per cent to 50,130, and a record 75,380 students from countries outside the EU have submitted applications – up 6 per cent on last year.

The figures follow trends seen in January, when the first application figures for this year were published.

The data also shows that despite a 2.3 per cent fall in the 18-year-old population in England, students are more likely to apply than ever before.

The application rate for 18-year-olds in England now stands at a record 38.1 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points on last year.

Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: “Today’s numbers confirm the enduring appeal of the full-time degree experience in its own right and as a gateway to a fulfilling career.

“The significant increases in applications from EU and international students demonstrate the continuing popularity of UK higher education.”


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