Universities: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 20 September 2023.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with the higher education sector on the availability of university places for domestic students.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

The UK higher education (HE) system is amongst the best in the world. Attracting the brightest students internationally is good for our universities and delivers growth at home.

Domestic students continue to make up the vast majority of overall undergraduate students within UK universities. The proportion of international acceptances on results day this year was 12.3%, having been 14.7% at the same point in 2019.

This year on A level and T level Results Day, 186,710 English-domiciled 18-year-olds were accepted to HE providers in England compared to 162,680 in 2019.

Ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access a world class education remains a top priority and is fundamental to the department’s ambition to level-up skills, growth, and economic opportunity across the country.

As autonomous bodies independent from the government, universities are responsible for their own recruitment decisions. Most universities have separate home and international student recruitment targets, set before the admissions cycle even begins. Universities plan their student numbers very carefully, not least because there are important implications for the provision of student support and wellbeing services, accommodation, and everything else needed to deliver the best student experience.

The department and I regularly engage with the HE sector to support policy making and delivery and did so throughout the 2023 cycle.

Most recently, on 7 September 2023, I attended the Universities UK annual conference and discussed how the government is supporting universities to maximise their immense economic and social impact. Key topics discussed included degree apprenticeships, the Lifelong Loan Entitlement and Horizon.

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