1115 GMT October 17, 2019
About 30,000 more women than men are set to start degree courses this autumn, The UK Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) data shows.
Figures from the university admissions service also show that around 6,600 fewer students have been placed on courses so far this year compared with at the same point last year.
As of Friday morning, 133,280 British women aged 18 had secured a university place, compared with 103,800 British men of this age.
UCAS said it was the largest gap it had recorded at this point of the admissions cycle, just over a week after A-levels were published.
Its analysis showed that across the UK 27.3 percent of all young men are expected to go to university this year, compared with 37.1 percent of young women. That means 18-year-old women are 36 percent more likely to start degree courses this autumn than their male peers.
Last year they were 35 percent more likely to enter higher education, and five years ago they were 31 percent more likely. UCAS suggested one factor contributing to the gender difference is a nine percent increase in the number of 18-year-olds placed on nursing courses this year. Women significantly outnumber men for these degrees, with around 28 women recruited for every man.
Previous figures have shown a drop in nursing applications and acceptances this year, but this has been driven by falls in the number of older students rather than among 18-year-olds.
Mark Corver, UCAS’s director of analysis and research, said: “More UK 18-year-olds will be starting university this autumn than ever before but large differences in who goes remain. Our research has shown that the difference between 18-year-old men and women entering university is now similar to that between the richest and poorest halves of the population. The statistics today show the difference between men and women slowly growing wider.”
As of Friday morning, 482,510 students had secured a university place, down by about 1.4 percent on the same point last year but higher than in any other year at this point.
Around 46,600 students had found their places through clearing, the largest number ever placed through the annual process at this point, UCAS said.