Entry rates into higher education

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2019, White pupils had the lowest entry rate into higher education (the percentage of state school pupils aged 18 years accepted into higher education)

  • in every year from 2007 to 2019, White pupils had the lowest entry rate into higher education

  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest entry rate into higher education during the same period

  • entry rates in 2019 were higher for all ethnic groups compared with rates in 2006

  • the entry rates for all ethnic groups increased in 2019 compared with 2018

Things you need to know

The data does not take into account pupils’ individual characteristics or their past academic achievements, all of which affect their likelihood to get a place at university or college.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of 18 year olds from different ethnic backgrounds who got a higher education place in the UK (referred to here as the 'entry rate').

The data only includes pupils from state schools in England who applied to full time undergraduate courses at universities and colleges through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The ethnic categories used in this data

Data is shown for the following 6 ethnic groups to make sure the estimates are reliable:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Mixed
  • White (including White ethnic minorities)
  • Other

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of state school pupils aged 18 years getting a higher education place, by ethnicity over time
time Asian Black Chinese Mixed White Other
% % % % % %
2006 34.5 21.6 53.6 22.9 21.8 27.0
2007 34.6 23.1 52.8 24.3 22.2 27.1
2008 35.7 25.7 52.0 25.0 23.5 27.9
2009 36.1 27.0 52.6 25.7 24.1 27.8
2010 35.0 28.4 52.6 25.6 24.2 27.8
2011 37.0 31.7 60.1 28.9 25.8 30.5
2012 36.1 31.4 57.1 27.8 24.7 30.6
2013 38.6 34.7 57.4 29.2 26.1 32.0
2014 39.8 36.0 59.3 31.0 27.3 34.3
2015 42.3 38.4 61.0 32.3 27.9 36.8
2016 44.1 39.1 60.9 33.4 28.9 38.0
2017 45.8 40.3 63.0 34.0 29.3 40.1
2018 46.7 41.1 66.2 33.9 29.5 40.1
2019 50.3 44.5 68.0 35.5 30.3 43.3

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Entry rates into higher education By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2019, 68.0% of pupils from the Chinese ethnic group got a higher education place in the UK, the highest entry rate out of all ethnic groups

  • 30.3% of White pupils got a higher education place, the lowest entry rate

  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group have had the highest entry rates every year between 2006 and 2019

  • White pupils had the lowest entry rates for 13 consecutive years since (and including) 2007

  • entry rates in 2019 were higher for all ethnic groups compared with those in 2006

  • compared with 2018, entry rates increased for all ethnic groups

  • the biggest increase in entry rates between 2006 and 2019 was among Black pupils, from 21.6% to 44.5%

  • the smallest increase in entry rates was among White pupils, from 21.8% to 30.3%

3. Methodology

Higher education entry rates are estimates. They are calculated by linking UCAS admissions data with pupil data contained in the:

The method used to link the school and UCAS data requires a full match across a range of identifying details to UCAS applicants who live in England.

The published entry rates are lower than the real value because they don’t include ambiguous matches.

The Department for Education does not have access to the individual-level UCAS data used to calculate the entry rates.

Rounding

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

Widening Participation in Higher Education: 2019 – DfE Official Statistics

Higher education participation: socio-economic, ethnic and gender differences - BIS research paper 186

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Non-official statistics

Publisher

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) End of Cycle Report provides data about participation and progression in higher education admissions.

5. Download the data

Entry Rates into Higher Education - Spreadsheet (csv) 10 KB

This file includes the following variables: measure, time, time_type, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, geography, value and value_type.