“Demand for university places fell in terms of applications (-8.8%) and acceptances (-13%) when higher fees were introduced for students this October. But the fall in the number of young men applying was about twice that of young women, with entry rates for both at 24.6% and 32.5% respectively.
“This widens a long-standing gap in application rates for male and female students, according to the Ucas end of cycle report. ‘The application rate for 18-year-old men remains below the entry rate for women throughout the period. That is, if the acceptance rate for men was 100%, the resulting entry rate for men would still be below that of women,’ the report said. Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said the gap in university entries reflected attainment patterns within schools, but the reasons behind the trend were unclear.
“’It’s probably down to cultural reasons. The change was first noticed around the introduction of GCSEs and the move towards more continuous assessment and coursework in schools, though there’s no evidence that this is the cause of the gender differences. This is an international phenomenon, it’s not restricted to the UK,’ he said.
“’Unless men are genuinely less smart than women this pattern will come to an end and be reversed at some time.’”