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Higher Education: Admissions

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of those who gained A-levels enrolled on a degree course at a higher education institution in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (186618)

Administrative data sources do not currently allow us to calculate the proportion of those who gained A Levels and enrolled on a degree course at higher education.

Some rates of entry to higher education by prior qualification are available from the Youth Cohort Study (YCS). The latest available figures are based on 19-year-olds in

2006-07:

82 per cent. of those with academic Level 3 qualifications at age 18 are in HE by age 19.

47 per cent. of those with vocational Level 3 qualifications at age 18 are in HE by age 19.

Although the YCS cannot reliably be used to make comparisons over time, the data do suggest that conversion rates from A level to HE have been reasonably constant at above 80 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of students applied for a university place on completion of their A-levels in (a) Cornwall, (b) the South West and (c) England in each year since 1979. (186628)

Administrative data sources do not currently allow us to calculate the proportion of those who gained A-levels who applied for a university place, nor is application information for 18-year-olds available by smaller areas.

The latest available information on all 18-year-old applicants is given in Table 1.

Table 1: Number of English domiciled 18-year-old applicants to full-time undergraduate courses in the UK

Year of entry

Applicants

2000

151,060

2001

156,240

2002

157,585

2003

161,480

2004

160,450

2005

175,405

2006

173,805

2007

176,305

Note: Figures have been rounded to the nearest five. Source: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Figures are not available for earlier years than 2000. Also, figures for Cornwall and the South West are not available, only for England as a whole. It is not possible to separate applicants who have completed A-levels as opposed to other qualifications. Therefore figures for all English domiciled 18-year-old university applicants have been provided. Latest figures for 2008 entry show that, as at 15 January, 18-year-old applicants from England were up by 5 per cent.

The main measure for tracking progress on increasing participation in higher education is currently the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR). This is the sum of the HE initial participation rates for individual ages between 17 and 30 inclusive. It covers English-domiciled first time entrants to HE courses, which are expected to last for at least six months, at UK higher education institutions and English, Scottish and Welsh further education colleges, and who remain on their course for at least six months. An 18-year-old rate can be derived from this, and the available figures are shown in Table 2:

Table 2: Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR)

Percentage

17-30 age group

18-year-olds

1999/2000

39.3

19.3

2000/01

39.7

19.5

2001/02

40.2

19.6

2002/03

41.2

19.7

2003/04

40.3

19.2

2004/05

41.3

19.6

2005/06

42.8

21.3

Source: “Participation Rates in Higher Education: Academic Years 1999/2000 to 2005/06 (Provisional)” Statistical First Release, published by DfES.

Figures are not available for earlier years than 1999/2000. Figures for 2006/07 will become available in 2008. The HEIPR is not disaggregated below national level. The HEIPR does not distinguish between students who have completed A-levels as opposed to other qualifications.

For information, the percentage of 17-year-olds achieving one or more A-level has changed over the period 1994 to 2007 as follows:

17-year-olds achieving one or more GCE/VCE/Applied A-levels (or equivalent1)

Percentage

1994

29.1

1995

30.5

1996

31.0

1997

30.8

1998

33.3

1999

33.8

2000

34.9

2001

37.3

2002

39.0

2003

38.9

2004

39.4

2005

38.8

2006

39.0

2007

38.8

1 Includes Advanced GNVQ between 1998 and 2001. Note: Figures relate to 17-year-olds (age at start of academic year, i.e. 31 August) in all schools and colleges. Source: The figures are taken from the 2006/2007 SFR, published on 9 January, and can be found at

http://www. dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000769/index.shtml