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Mature Students

Question for Department for Education

UIN 165471, tabled on 18 July 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the decrease in the number of mature students applying to university in 2018-19.

Answered on

23 July 2018

The rise in the entry rate of 18 year olds to full-time university every year since 2012, and a total proportional increase of 20% between 2012 and 2017, means that there is a reduced pool of suitable qualified mature applicants to enter in subsequent years. It is also important to note that a large proportion of mature applicants normally apply for places later in the year.

The Universities and College Admissions Service plan to publish insights about the most important factors influencing the application choices of mature students later this year.

Studying later in life can bring enormous benefits for individuals, the economy and employers. We are therefore taking a number of steps to support mature students and allow them to access and succeed within higher education.

In our first guidance to the Office for Students (OfS) (published 28 February 2018), which sets out our priorities for access and participation plans for 2019/20, we have asked the OfS to encourage higher education providers to consider the recruitment and support of mature learners.

We are also removing barriers to accelerated courses. Evidence shows that accelerated courses appeal particularly to mature students who want to retrain and enter the workplace more quickly than a traditional course would permit.

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