Women take record number of university places

The BBC is reporting that women are 35% more likely to go to university than men, the widest gap so far, according to annual entry figures.

The Ucas admissions service says record numbers – 532,300 students – began courses in UK universities this autumn.

But there were wide regional variations – with youngsters in London 40% more likely to enter university than those in south-west or north-east England.

Ucas chief Mary Curnock Cook said poor white males should now be the focus of “outreach efforts”.

The annual statistics from Ucas show the complete picture of university applications for those starting courses in autumn 2015, with a 3% increase in students compared with last year.

The removal of limits on student numbers saw universities competing for students – and the entry rates show it was easier this year to get into top universities with slightly lower grades.

In students going to the top universities, 26% of entries got places with A-level grades or equivalent below ABB. This was about three percentage points more than last year and 11 percentage points more than four years ago.

The numbers of unconditional offers to students, regardless of their grades, also increased sharply, doubling to 23,400 – or about 2.5% of total offers.

The annual figures show more people entering UK universities than ever before, including increases in students from the UK and overseas.

In England, about 42% of 18- and 19-year-olds will have university places, up by a quarter in the past decade. 

Northern Ireland had the highest rate in the UK, with 42.8%. Wales the lowest, with 36.8%. 

Ucas does not gather comprehensive figures on students entering higher education in Scotland.

But the admissions service has highlighted the big differences in the characteristics of who gets places.

The most likely are:

  • women
  • those living in London
  • those from more affluent families
  • those in non-white ethnic groups

Those most likely to be under-represented at university are poor, white males.

White people, proportionate to their numbers in the population, are the least likely ethnic group to go to university, the admissions service says.

And there would be an extra 36,000 male students at university if they entered at the same rate as female students…

More at: Women take record number of university places


So another year and the gender gap rises again. This has been a clear trend now for years and yet the situation continues to swing towards more and more participation of women.

In terms of equality, surely this suggests there is something seriously wrong in our education system and it is continuing to get worse?

Why do you think this is happening, and why do you think no one seems bothered enough to take sufficient action to change it?

Please give us your reactions and opinions in the comments or via Twitter…


Today's poll: The university gender gap keeps getting bigger - is there sufficient concern about it?

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