More North East students than ever are being accepted at universities around the country, latest statistics have shown.
Last year, a record number of 16,310 young people from the region were accepted on higher education courses, an increase of 7.9% from 2008.
The new Ucas statistics released yesterday have been welcomed by education experts, as 2012 saw the lowest number of accepted applicants of North East pupils in a six-year period with only 14,916.
Beccy Earnshaw, director of Schools North East, said: “Increasing the proportion of young people from the North East that progress to higher education has been identified as a priority for the region’s economic growth.
“This rise in the numbers of young people being accepted into university is therefore very welcome.
“Schools, colleges, universities, local authorities and employers must work together to accelerate this trend over the next few years and ensure that more and more young people in the North East have the opportunity, ability and ambition to achieve higher level qualifications.”
Both Newcastle and Northumbria universities saw the highest increase in their number of accepted applicants in the region from 2012 to 2013, at a rise of 12.5% and 11.5% respectively.
Prof Suzanne Cholerton, pro-vice-chancellor, learning and teaching at Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University is a very popular university and student recruitment levels have always been strong, attracting some of the brightest students from the UK and around the world.
“We are committed to ensuring all our students have the best possible experience and get the most out of their time studying with us. Last year the University invested over £21m improving accommodation, teaching and research facilities.
“Over the next three years we are investing a further £96m in developing our campus and facilities to support the student experience. The increase in applications demonstrates Newcastle’s popularity as a university offering high-quality programmes, an excellent student experience and an outstanding employability record.”
Adam Dunlop, marketing director at Northumbria University, said the rise in accepted applications was due to an increase in the number of highly-qualified students.
He added: “We were delighted to see the increase in applications in 2013: students are recognising the growing reputation of Northumbria University, Newcastle, as a research-rich, business focussed, professional university. For the North East this is great news: it confirms Newcastle as a first choice destination for students.”