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Friday, 26 May, 2000, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
More ethnic minority university applicants
The number of black and Asian students applying to UK universities and colleges is increasing, official figures suggest.

Statistics released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) show there has been a 3.3% rise in the number of black applicants for full-time higher education courses starting this autumn, and a 2.6% increase in Asian applicants.

Ucas chief executive Tony Higgins said he was pleased with the increases, but pointed out that "black people in particular are still woefully under-represented in our universities and colleges".

The figures, published on Friday, show that by 16 May, a total of 11,931 UK applicants describing their ethnic origin as black had applied for full-time higher education places, compared with 11,551 at the same time last year.

The number of Asian applicants was 34,481, compared with 33,608 last year.

But despite these rises, there has been a 3% drop in the number of applicants describing themselves as black Caribbean - from 3,823 to 3,708.

Mr Higgins said: "The increase in black and Asian applicants is very good news, because it will help to make the student population more representative of the UK's population as a whole.

"The figures provide some evidence of the hard work going on in the higher education sector to redress the balance, and we hope this will attract more and more people from different ethnic groups to apply."

Boost in Far East applicants

The overall figures show that by 16 May, a total of 386,394 people had applied through Ucas - a slight drop of 0.7% on the same time last year.

The number of applicants living in Scotland and Northern Ireland has risen, but the number from England and Wales has fallen slightly.

The number of applications from white students has fallen by 1.1%.

There has been a drop in the number of applicants from other European Union countries, but a rise in applicants from outside the EU - particularly from the Far East.

The number of students from China applying has shot up by 120% - from 655 to 1,445.

There has been an increase of 11.3% in the number of applicants from Hong Kong, and of 7.9% in the number applying from Malaysia.

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