More students are attending Scottish universities and colleges, new figures show.
Institutions accepted 41,944 students this year, a 1.9% rise on the previous year but down from the record high of 43,057 in 2009. Scottish students accounted for 30,900, up 0.3% on last year but down from the record 32,248 in 2010.
The number of applicants to Scottish institutions remains fairly steady at 45,116, down from 46,347 in 2010. This contrasts with a large drop in applicants in England, down 8.6% to 455,414 from 498,119 last year. The drop in English acceptances is less marked at 343,902, down 3.7% from 368,316 last year.
Of those who applied to university in Scotland, around two-thirds were accepted (68.5%), slightly higher than the 66.9% rate of a year ago but still the lowest acceptance rate in the UK. England accepted 75.5% of its applicants, Wales 77.7% and Northern Ireland 68.6%. The figures were compiled by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
Chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “The headline numbers in this report signal the challenging environment for recruitment in 2012 for some parts of UK higher education. However, the underlying findings are more subtle. For example, although demand for higher education has fallen in England, the actual entry rates for young people are close to trend.
“The continuing increase in participation from more disadvantaged groups is very encouraging, as is the absence of any signal that they are turning away from higher-fee courses.
“Young women are now a third more likely to enter higher education than men, a difference that has increased this cycle. The fact that women remain more likely to enter higher education than men are to apply, is a striking and worrying finding.”