Data just released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for the January 2023 Equal Consideration Deadline, indicates that a total of 314,660 UK 18-year-olds have applied for courses. This is a very slight drop (-1.8%) on last year’s figure of 320,420. However, it is up +14.3% up on the January 2020 pre-pandemic figure of 275,300.

Application rates for UK 18-year-olds were 41.5% in 2023, 43.4% in 2022, and 39.5% in 2020.

All UCAS applicants totalled 596,590 in 2023. This was -2.3% down from 610,720 in 2022, but +5% higher than 2020’s 568,330.

Growth courses were Computing (+9.6%) and Law (+2.1%). However, shrinking courses were Nursing and Teacher Training, with drops of -18.6% and -15.6% respectively.

The number of applications from UK disadvantaged areas was the second highest ever at 36,470, (up +19.1% on 2020).

There was a significant drop in UK mature applicants (-14%), mainly due to a decrease in demand for Nursing.

Re-applications (all ages) increased by +3.9%, with the majority being resubmissions by 19-year-olds. And the total number of 19-year-olds applying rose to +0.8, showing a desire for undergraduate education.

Pleasingly, International student applications saw a growth of +3.1% (all ages), mainly from Nigeria (+23.1%), India (+5.4%) and the USA (+9.8%). However, there was a noticeable drop in Chinese applicants (-4.2%), due to their homeland’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Clare Marchant (UCAS Chief Executive) observed that this was ‘another complex cycle with a myriad of global and national factors impacting demand, all within the context of an increasing demographic and high employment rates’. 

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UCAS website,, posted 9th February 2023