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As of Friday morning, the number of 18-year-old women who had secured a university place totalled 133,280, compared with 103,800 men of the same age.
The statistics published by Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) showed that the gap is the largest on record for this point of the admissions cycle.
The revelation comes a week after A-levels were published, and
shows that women in this age group are 36 per cent more likely to start degree courses than their male peers.
Ucas suggests that one factor contributing to the gender difference is nursing, with a 9 per cent rise in the number of 18-year-olds placed on nursing courses.
Women significantly outnumber men for nursing degrees, with around 28 recruited for every man.
Previous figures have shown an overall drop in nursing applications and acceptances this year, which was driven by fewer numbers of older students and the axing of the NHS bursary.
Ucas director of analysis and research Dr Mark Corver said: "Our
research has shown that the difference between 18-year-old men and women entering university is now similar to that between the richest and poorest halves of the population.
"The statistics today show the difference between men and women slowly growing wider."
Overall, 482,510 students have secured a university place, down from about 1.4 per cent at the same point last year, but higher than any other year at this point.
A total of 46,600 students have found their places through clearing, a record number at this stage, Ucas said.
Earlier this month, top A-level grades increased for the first time in
six years. There was a 0.5 per cent increase on last year with boys
overtaking girls in top grades.
Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticised changes in the grading system whereby some subjects are now graded numerically.
She said that the government's “unnecessary tinkering with grades had left many parents and employers struggling to understand what the results in maths and English mean.
“Tory failure to properly explain the changes has created confusion.”
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