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New figures from UCAS show that more UK 18 year olds than ever before gained a place at universities and colleges in 2016. The figures also show that fewer mature students are enrolling into university and that the number of acceptances from non-EU countries fell for the first time since 2011.

Commenting on the UCAS End of Cycle Report, Bright Blue researcher James Dobson said:

“The significant variance in acceptance rates between the most privileged groups and most disadvantaged is worrying. University attendance is a key predictor of future labour market success, so, if the Government is serious about its social reform agenda, it must seek to close this gap.

“The fall in acceptances for mature students mirrors evidence which shows lifelong learning is in decline. Lifelong learning is crucial to allowing people to retrain or gain new skills. The Government should tackle the ongoing decline in mature learners by offering a new lifetime loan account to enable all adults to pay for any higher education course – full-time or part-time – in England during their lifetime.

“The fall in acceptances from applicants outside the EU shows the very real impact of including international students in the net migration target. International students pay significantly higher tuition fees than their British counterparts and yield significant amounts of soft-power to the UK Government. Evidence shows that the public do not want to see fewer foreign students studying at our Higher Education institutions. The Government should remove students from the net migration target.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For further media enquiries, please contact our Communications Manager of Bright Blue, Laura Round, on laura@brightblue.org.uk or 07543759844.