PHILIP Dunne MP says figures show the number of 18 year olds applying to university has reached its highest ever level, at 36.6%.

The figures from UCAS (Universities Colleges Admission Service) also revealed the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds has increased to a record 22%, up from just over 15% in 2009/10.

“Latest figures from UCAS for 2016 are encouraging, and show reforms are heading in the right direction,” said the MP for Ludlow.

“This Government is determined to encourage aspiration in young people in Britain, no matter their background. So it is particularly welcome to see record numbers of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds applying to university.

“I am concerned the figures reveal a widening gap in gender differences, with women far more likely to apply to university than men, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We must encourage schools to work with young men to show that studying at university is not an unattainable dream, but can help them achieve their ambitions in life.

A record level of 18 year olds applying to University is good news for Shropshire, not least because growing demand will help the new University Centre in Shrewsbury.”