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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
University admissions rise again
There are 371,000 students starting university courses this autumn

More students than ever will be beginning university courses this year.

The latest admissions figures show a rise of 1.3% in the number of places accepted - reaching a total of almost 371,000.

There has also been a large increase in students entering "foundation degrees", vocational courses which can lead to full honours degrees.

Welcoming the increase in student numbers, the government announced an extra 10,000 foundation degree places.

These "provisional final" figures for courses beginning this autumn will be another step towards the government's target for half of all young people to go to university.

Top Ten Subjects
Design studies
Computer science
Management studies
Sports science
Teacher training

At present, the latest official figures, which are from two years ago, show that about 43% of youngsters are staying on to higher education.

But projections based on girls' higher level of academic achievement, suggest that the 50% target for university entrance has already almost been achieved by female students.

Numbers entering university overall have risen by 4.3% in the past two years.

The figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service also show that about 100,000 applicants did not find a university place.

The most popular courses among this year's new arrivals at university are design studies, computer science, management, law and psychology.

"Traditional" courses such as English and history remain popular, but science subjects such as physics, chemistry and biology are behind such subjects as sports science, accounting and drama.

Among the biggest growth areas were courses in social work, nursing and dance.

Students entering foundation degrees have grown sharply - now up to over 5,000. This expansion will continue in the next couple of years, with a target of 50,000 places by 2005-2006.

Higher Education Minister Alan Johnson announced a step towards this on Tuesday, with a further 10,000 places.

Among the type of courses that will be taken by foundation degree students are imaging at the University of Portsmouth and manufacturing and mechanical engineering at University of Bradford.

Q&A: University admissions
23 Sep 03  |  Education
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29 Sep 03  |  Education
University growth strains funding
16 Sep 03  |  Education

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