By degrees: Women gain record number of university places

Women now 35% more likely than men to go to university

Students graduation

Students graduating in Yorkshire, 2015

According to the university admissions service UCAS, 532,300 students began university courses this year – the largest figure on record, with women now 35% more likely to go to university than men.

This has widened the gender gap to record levels, with 36,000 fewer men taking a degree than they would if entry rates were equal.

UCAS’s data also highlighted huge regional differences in who is most likely to win places at universities.  

According to UCAS, those most likely to go to university in the UK are:

·         women

·         those living in London

·         those from more affluent families

·         those in non-white ethnic groups

The least likely group to go to university are white men from disadvantaged backgrounds, however, the gap between rich and poor students’ access to higher education has closed significantly in recent years, with the least advantaged young people in England are 65% more likely to go into higher education than they were in 2006.  

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

She said: “We have previously highlighted the unacceptably large and widening gap between entry rates for men and women and this year shows young men, and especially young white men, falling even further behind.”

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