Health educators respond to UCAS application data for January 2019

7 February 2019

Health educators have responded to the release of data showing an increase in applications to undergraduate nursing courses for entry in 2019/20.

The data published by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows a higher level of applications to higher education by 0.4% across all subjects. The increase in application numbers for 2019/20 is higher for nursing courses where the number of applicants has risen by 5%. Especially the number of applications to nursing courses from 18 and 19-year-olds from all four nations of the UK was significantly higher than last year.

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said:

‘The rise in the number of applicants to nursing courses across the UK is positive news and shows there is strong interest in pursuing nursing as a career. Universities have worked hard to recruit to courses this year in a challenging environment, but this work needs to be supported by sustained, high profile recruitment campaigns to reach out to a diverse pool of applicants and deliver continued growth in student numbers in the future.

‘The small increase in mature applicants is very welcome but this is still an area that needs careful monitoring. We know also that while some nursing courses are over-subscribed there are still issues around attracting good applicants to learning disability, mental health and adult nursing courses. We continue to advocate for the introduction of a maintenance grant for healthcare students which would help to support recruitment to these courses and remove barriers to participation. We would welcome the Government’s consideration of this as part of the Long Term Plan’.

The data shows that the number of applicants aged between 20 and 24 remained stable whilst the number of applicants aged 25 and over increased across the UK.


Notes to editors:

  1. The Council of Deans of Health is the voice of the deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions. For further information:
  2. CoDH briefing on UCAS statistics January 2019
  3. UCAS 2019 cycle applicant figures – January deadline
  4. For more information on this press release, please contact Jon Eames, 07496 693 806.

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