Fall in students accepted into university in UK – BBC

The number of 18-year-olds in the UK accepted into university has fallen for the first time in five years.
Applications also fell, after demand rose in the pandemic, and about 85% of applicants were accepted in both years.
Fewer students got into their first choice of university this year – but more qualified for their second choice, or accepted places through clearing.
Top A-level results dropped again this year, as grades in England were brought back to pre-Covid levels.
The new data from Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) shows 270,350 UK 18-year-olds were accepted on to a course this year, down from 275,390 in 2022.
It is the first fall since 2018, but the number is still higher than before Covid.
The drop in the number of acceptances comes after overall applications from UK 18-year-olds declined this year – from 323,290 in 2022 to 318,390 in 2023.
Ucas says there has been a "return to normal growth following the surge of demand seen during the pandemic".
The fall in demand will not have affected all universities equally, and data for individual universities is not yet available.
Jessie Owers, 18, has been scouting out societies at Cardiff Metropolitan University this week.
She only found out she would be here a month ago, after applying through Ucas's clearing system.
"I got my results, and they were far lower than I was expecting, which I know happened to a lot of people," she said.
She missed her grades for her first choice and then had to decide whether or not to accept her unconditional offer at her insurance choice.
She had a change of heart, and decided to look at other universities in which she had originally been interested.
"A big part of why, when it comes to uni, is to have a good rugby team, and I know Cardiff Met has a very, very good rugby team," she said.
"Having clearing was an amazing option, because I knew so many people that went for their second choice."
More teenagers applied for university in the years after the pandemic began.
Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said this rise could have been because they had fewer options.
"Some young people may have sought refuge in higher education during the Covid years, particularly as there were fewer employment or apprenticeship opportunities during that period," he said.
"The fall in the number of students accepted on to a course could partly reflect a change in student behaviour as we exit the pandemic."
There were also fewer opportunities to travel in 2020 and 2021, making gap years less likely.
This year, 35.6% of all 18-year-olds in the UK have been accepted into universities – the lowest proportion since 2019.
The Ucas data on 18-year-old applicants from the UK also shows:
Ucas said 32% of students who got a place through clearing had turned down their first choice, compared to 30% who used the system after missing their grades.
Mr Watkin said this could be because of a "mismatch between predicted grades and actual grades" because of the use of teacher-assessed grades in 2020 and 2021, and changes to grading after that.
The number of international students from outside of the EU who were accepted fell by 0.9%, but remains 25% higher than pre-Covid levels.
The number of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds also fell, but remains nearly 20% higher than in 2019.
Sander Kristel, interim chief executive at Ucas, said the numbers "show the continuing attraction of UK higher education across the globe, and also a return to normal growth following the surge of demand seen during the pandemic".
He added: "For me, today's numbers show that we need to continue our collective efforts in closing the gap in participation for those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds."
There are still 23,000 courses available through clearing, which is open until 17 October.
A spokeswoman for Universities UK said the figures showed the "continued strong appeal of university", but added that the sector must "continue efforts to drive social mobility".
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