Uni applications from disadvantaged groups and ethnic minorities surge

Applications to attend university from disadvantaged teenagers have reached their highest-ever levels, while the proportion of white students applying to university is lower than that of ethnic minority students.

Applications to study from September 2013, which met the March 2013 deadline, have been analysed by UCAS and show that 25 per cent of 18-year-olds in England now apply to university, a rise of 1 per cent and a figure which chimes with the incremental increases witnessed from 2006 to 2011. There was a decrease in applications in 2012 as this was the year that £9,000 tuition fees were introduced and so many students who had planned to have a gap year chose not to do so.

Teenagers from ethnic minority groups are now more likely to apply to university than white teenagers. Just 29 per cent of white teenagers attending state school applied to university, compared to 50 per cent of Chinese pupils. Overall, 40 per cent of Asian state school students applied to university. Over one third (34 per cent) of black teenagers put in an application to attend university, marking a 70 per cent rise in the application rate from 20 per cent in 2006 to 34 per cent in 2013.

A higher proportion of disadvantaged teenagers applied to university this year than ever before. Of pupils who received free school meals, 15 per cent applied to study at university although teenagers were twice as likely to apply if they were not in receipt of free school meals. In 2004, applications from 18-year-olds in advantaged areas were 4.3 times higher than those in disadvantaged areas. This year, that figure had fallen to 2.7 times higher.

Last week, Lawyer 2B reported that applications to read law at university have risen by 5 per cent (16 July 2013).