UCAS reports rise in number of applications to study art and design at uni

“Record numbers” of students have applied to university this year, revealing the “clear demand” for undergraduate study according to UCAS’ chief executive.

The number of prospective students applying to art and design university courses has increased, according to new UCAS data.

Numbers released following the 30 June application deadline show more than 500 more applications for creative arts and design subjects have been submitted this year, with a total of 240,420 across the UK.

Applications recovering to pre-pandemic levels

Applications for art and design courses took a hit last year, with the coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly having an impact on students’ decisions.

As highlighted by university staff in Design Week, the hands-on nature of these courses meant studying from home was less accessible than for other academic pathways.

However as the country continues to “unlock”, application numbers have recovered and indeed have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Data reveals almost 1,000 more applications have been made in 2021 compared with 2019.

This number still pales in comparison 2015 figures, where some 273,920 applications were made.

Highest number of English applicants

Students from England remain the front runner when it comes to making applications, with a 175,940 this year.

This is compared with 14,290 student applications from Scotland, 7,920 from Wales and 4,660 from Northern Ireland.

The latter is the only region of the UK where art and design application numbers have fallen in 2021.

Half as many EU students

But while applications numbers are largely rising among UK students, the same cannot be said for their EU peers looking to study here.

Applications to study art and design courses from EU students have halved over the course of the year, falling from 21,490 in 2020 to just 10,440 this year.

A combination of pandemic-induced border controls and Brexit complications could have a role to play in this.

Though EU student applications are down, applications to study in the UK from non-EU countries are up, with 27,170 submitted this year.

A “clear demand” for undergraduate study

The jump in applications for art and design in 2021 is mirrored across the board, according to UCAS, which is reporting a “record number” of students applying to university this time around.

This higher level of applicants corresponds with a rise in offers from universities too, UCAS data shows. Among these numbers is a 20% rise in offers to students from “the most disadvantaged backgrounds”.

“Today’s numbers show the clear demand for undergraduate study and apprenticeships is growing, rising significantly during the pandemic,” says UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant.

Meanwhile UCAS head of data and analysis Richard O’Kelly suggests the rise in applications is because of students “finding solace” in higher education.

Results for the number of students accepted onto their chosen courses, as well as data on how many students are studying art and design at A-Level, will be released later this summer.

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