Nursing applications in England up by over a third to 48,830

  • UCAS figures published today show a 34% increase in applications to nursing courses in England
  • Government continues to work to deliver on the manifesto commitment for 50,000 more nurses in the NHS

Health and care ministers have welcomed the latest figures out today showing the number of applications to undergraduate nursing courses this year is a third higher than last year.

UCAS has received 48,830 applications to nursing courses in England, up from 35,960 at the same point last year, representing a 34% increase.

Last year, the number of people accepting a place on a nursing course increased by 27% compared to 2019. Health Education England is working with health and education sector partners to make sure there are enough places for all suitable applicants who will go on to take up vital jobs in the NHS or social care sector.

The figures for England also show:

  • an increase in applications of more than 50% among 25 to 34 year olds and 43% among 35-and-overs
  • a 41% rise in male applicants

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said:

I’m delighted to see such an incredible boost in this year’s applications, with more mature applicants helping to contribute to a diverse and truly representative nursing workforce. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to support our health and social care services.

These are the nurses of the future who will help the NHS and social care recover from this pandemic and continue to deliver world-class care to patients for years to come.

These figures are a testament to the work of Health Education England and UCAS in highlighting nursing as a rewarding and accessible career path, as well as the remarkable achievements of all health and care professionals over the past year.

We’re another step closer to delivering 50,000 more nurses for our NHS and providing better healthcare for everyone.

Last year, the government introduced a new training grant for eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession (including paramedic) students of at least £5,000 a year, which does not need to be paid back.

Nursing students will also benefit from additional financial support for childcare and for those who study specialisms which typically have fewer applicants such as mental health or learning disability nursing. Eligibility for this is in line with existing criteria for tuition fee and maintenance support from the Student Loans Company.

Background information

The data is for applications received by 29 January 2021 which was the equal consideration deadline for full-time undergraduate applications for university and college courses that start this autumn.

UK-wide figures show total applications for nursing courses have risen by almost a third (32%) to reach 60,130.


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