Data shows more students going to university

24 September 2020

In response to new analysis published by UCAS today (24 September) that shows an increase in the number of students accepted onto full-time undergraduate courses at higher-tariff universities as of 10 September 2020, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group said: 

“Russell Group universities have worked hard to accommodate as many students as possible on their preferred courses so that applicants, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, were not unfairly affected by the challenging circumstances this year. We are proud to see those efforts are reflected in the significant increase in the number of UK applicants taking up a place at higher-tariff universities.

“The figures also suggest the steps taken by our universities to make campuses as safe as possible are recognised by students who continue to value the skills and knowledge a high-quality university education will continue to provide. However there remains a degree of uncertainty over how many international students will take up their places this autumn, particularly with ongoing educational disruption and restrictions on international travel. 

“Our efforts have been supported by the Government lifting its number caps on specialist courses such as medicine and dentistry and providing additional funding for high-cost courses like chemistry and engineering, which has allowed us to increase capacity in these high priority areas.”


  • Placed applicants at higher tariff universities went from 152,990 at the same time in the cycle last year to 171,470, an increase of 12%.
  • A record 28,030 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (POLAR4 quintile 1) across the UK have been accepted into university – up 8% on the equivalent point last year.

The full data from UCAS can be found here.

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