Missed opportunities?

The proportion of UK-domiciled applicants to higher education (HE) who were non-placed applicants (NPAs) had remained relatively stable over previous years at around 19%.

The report analysed the characteristics of the non-placed applicants (NPA), and risk factors for inclusion in this NPA group using the full UCAS applicant data for 2002-2007. The NPAs could be sub-divided into the following groups: those who declined their offer (52%), those who received no offer (38%), those who withdrew from the application process (6%) and those for whom no further information was available (4%). The results showed that the following groups are over-represented in the NPA groups: older applicants, women, black applicants and those holding qualifications other than general academic qualifications. It also considered those applicants who re-applied in a subsequent year, the majority of whom were placed in HE.

The question remains of the extent to which this relatively consistent proportion of non-placed applicants represents ‘missed opportunities’. The data do not allow for interpretation of the underlying reasons why these applicants (and especially the large group who decline their offers) are non-placed at the end of the application cycle. This will be the topic of future research.

The report of this project was launched at a conference organised by UCAS in London on 4th December 2007.

The project, undertaken for UCAS, was led by Michael Hoelscher and Stephanie Wilde.