• Demand for full-time undergraduate courses is likely to remain the same or increase only slightly.
  • Significant numbers of students will be applying to higher education with new qualifications and new combinations
    of qualifications.
  • Demand from international students for UK higher education is likely to remain strong but may be impacted by immigration policy. Demand for transnational education (TNE) provision globally will rise.
  • Part-time undergraduate study has shown substantial falls since the introduction of higher fees. It is uncertain if or when demand will recover.
  • More innovative approaches to learning will start to proliferate, including online provision.
  • Improvements in student support could stimulate an increase in UK demand for postgraduate study, which otherwise is a declining market.
  • Higher apprenticeship numbers will increase and gain credibility as an alternative to more traditional higher education.
  • There will be increased competition to attract learners who will, in turn, have greater choice.
  • The higher education sector will continue to seek efficiencies and reduce costs.


  • There will be many organisations offering learners information and advice about educational progression.
  • Traditional ways of contacting learners will be replaced by increasingly sophisticated and integrated digital, video and mobile communication channels. Social relationship management will underpin engagement with learners.
  • There will be growing demand to connect with young people and prospective students in a competitive recruitment market.
  • Higher education providers will use a range of services to connect with and recruit students, particularly international students.
  • Higher education providers will increasingly use sophisticated analytics to underpin their marketing, recruitment and admissions strategies and practice.

Legislation, regulation, devolution

  • Devolution will drive further diversification in policy, funding and regulation in secondary, further and higher education in different parts of the UK.
  • Government policy will focus on finding sustainable solutions for the funding of higher education, as well as increasing employer engagement in the design and delivery of courses offering higher level skills.
  • There is likely to be stronger emphasis on education and skills provision, and progression at local, city and regional level.
  • Students and parents will increasingly want information about the quality and added value of the student experience and graduate employment prospects.
  • Reducing inequalities in attainment and progression, and supporting equality of opportunity for access to, and participation in, higher education will remain a public priority.
  • Providing all young people with access to comprehensive, high quality information, advice, and careers guidance will also remain a priority.
  • Legislation and policy on the sharing and uses of data, balanced with how learners want their personal data to be treated, will present challenges and opportunities for UCAS and its customers.