Statistics published today by UCAS show a 2% rise in university applications by 18-year-olds from the most deprived areas of Wales.
The statistics show 21.6% of 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged areas applied up until the end of June, up from 19.4% last year.
The data also show a record proportion of 18 year olds from Wales applying to university. Applications reached a high of 33.6%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points.
Welsh universities have also seen an increase in applications, with a rise of 6% in applications to Welsh providers, to over 128,000.
The Welsh Government has radically reformed the student finance system in Wales in recent years, with a fundamental shift towards supporting students with their day-to-day living costs, and increased support through a mixture of grants and loans.
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said:
I’m delighted to see these statistics, which shows that the gap between applicants from the most and least deprived areas is narrowing.
As a Government, we believe that high-quality education is a driving force for social mobility, national prosperity and an engaged democracy.
We’re opening up higher education to more people than ever, providing the most generous student support package in the UK. Wales is the only country in Europe which offers equivalent living costs support for undergraduate full-time, part-time and post-graduate students.
There has also been a significant 6% increase in applications to Welsh institutions. Welsh universities lead the way for student satisfaction and research and it’s great to see more and more students choosing our universities.