424,000 students have been accepted to UK universities and colleges so far this year – up 3% on A level results day in 2015, UCAS figures show today.

This is the highest number recorded on A level results day.

There are 201,000 UK 18 year old applicants placed, +2% on 2015 despite the population falling by 2.3%. Young people from the UK are 4% more likely to have been placed in higher education than last year.

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There are also more acceptances from older age groups, with acceptances for those aged 25 or older from the UK up 8%.

More students from each of the four UK countries have been placed in higher education than at this point last year (England 307,200, Scotland 31,900, Wales 16,600 and Northern Ireland 12,000).

The number of EU students placed has increased to 26,800 (+11%) – the highest number recorded – and international acceptances have stayed around the same level as 2015 (+0.4%) at 29,300.

A-Level exam results helpline now up and running

UK 18-year-olds from the least advantaged backgrounds are 7% more likely to be placed than in 2015, although the most advantaged young people are still 2.5 times more likely to be accepted to HE.

Over 27,400 more young women than men from the UK have already been placed at university, but this gap is slightly narrower than in 2015 with 3% more men placed in 2016 and 2% more women.

Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS Chief Executive, said: “This is a big day for hundreds of thousands of young people who have chosen to kick start their adult life with higher education – well done to all of them.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the first small signs of improvement for young men, although they are still too far behind.”

Applicants were able to log in to Track on the UCAS website from 8am this morning to see if they have been accepted.

When is A Level results day? Plus all you need to know about UCAS and clearing

Students considering using the UCAS Clearing service can start researching courses this morning, before discussing their options with universities throughout the day.

Students can make a formal Clearing choice from 3pm.

Courses with vacancies are listed on the UCAS website.

Full information and contact details can also be found on the website and students can also direct questions to a UCAS expert on Twitter or Facebook.

Experienced careers advisers are also ready to discuss the range of options open to students on the Exam Results Helpline, which is funded by the Department for Education, on 0808 100 8000.