- At record levels, Black and Asian students won places at prestigious UK universities along with increasing numbers of students from all backgrounds in 2021. It is speculated that there could be one million applications for places by 2026.
- The number of Black students rose by 19% in a year and the record numbers of applications and acceptances were driven by the increase in higher A-levels awarded in 2021 after the government decided to replace exams with teacher-assessed grades.
- The number of applicants achieving the top A-level grades almost doubled compared with 2020 as a result of which 103,010 UK young people were accepted. The proportion of school leavers seeking further study increased with 38% of 18-year-olds living in the UK going on to university.
- 21% of students accepted on to a university or college course last year were receiving free school meals. Applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds have also increased considerably despite the whole application cycle taking place during the pandemic.
- Applicants from more privileged backgrounds gained places at even higher rates. The number of applicants from poorer areas rose more slowly by 10% while those from the wealthiest backgrounds increased by 15%.
- White students gaining places at higher-tariff universities also rose steeply and thus, the gap in participation rates between disadvantaged pupils and their peers continued to widen.
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