There are now fewer men than women applying to university

The number of male applicants has fallen for the first time in five years

The number of men applying to university has fallen by 500 in the past year, new research has revealed.  It’s the first time in five years that the number of male applicants has fallen, dropping by 750 to 285,490.

100,000 more women than men have applied for a university course this year, heightening concerns over a growing gender divide within higher education. A similar report from the Higher Education Policy Institute found that over 94,000 fewer men had applied to university by the main UCAS deadline in January, making them a minority amongst undergraduates and postgraduates.

The biggest drops in male applicants were in slightly older age groups, aged 20 to 24, with further falls amongst those in their late 20s and early 30s. Applications from 18 year olds who represent the largest age group has however risen amongst boys as well as girls.

These gender disparities are also prominent in relation to university courses. Since applications for this year’s freshers closed, figures show there were 172,910 applications from women to study biomedical sciences, compared to 103,308 from men. 177,030 women applied for creative arts and design courses, compared to only 96,840 men, and only 97,100 male applicants for social studies degrees, compared to 150,870 women.

Inequalities in university applications are also reflected at every stage in the education system, with girls consistently outperforming boys. Head of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook has described how the situation is “getting worse”, as boys, particularly those from white, poorer backgrounds, continue to perform worse than girls across primary, secondary and higher education, as well as in apprenticeships. Even new Prime Minister Theresa May stated in her first speech at Downing Street that white working class boys are less likely to go to university.

Other figures have shown that women far outnumber men even on some university campuses. The universities of Leeds, Cardiff and Birmingham are amongst those with a higher number of female students. However the situation is reversed in a small number of universities, where institutions such as Loughborough, Imperial College and Bath see far more male students on their campuses.