Our services support young people making post-16 choices, as well as those applying for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
UCAS is an independent charity providing information, advice, and admissions services to inspire and facilitate educational progression. 

Our income comes from:

  • application fees paid by applicants
  • capitation fees paid by universities and colleges for each student who is accepted
  • income generated by our wholly-owned subsidiary, UCAS Media Ltd, which gift-aids its profits to the charity

We don’t receive any direct financial support from the government, so our commercial activities help us deliver our charitable objectives, whilst keeping costs down for students and education providers.

We are governed by a Board of Trustees, the majority of whom are leaders of higher or further education providers.

What we do

In 2019, our UCAS Undergraduate admissions service handled 2.79 million applications from 706,435 UK, EU, and international students. We’re proud to have helped 541,240 students secure a full-time place at one of 337 universities and colleges across the UK.

We also provide information, advice, and admissions services for UK conservatoires (UCAS Conservatoires), for Initial Teacher Training (UCAS Teacher Training),  and taught postgraduate courses (UCAS Postgraduate).

To help promote understanding of patterns in demand for higher education and admissions to university, we publish a growing volume of data and analysis, all of which is freely available to download and re-use from our Data and analysis pages. In our end of cycle data resources alone, there are over 4 million data points available to download in PDF and .csv format, covering applicants, provision, and providers. 

Whilst our core business is admissions to full-time undergraduate education, our Corporate Strategy for 2020-2025 describes an exciting agenda to:

  • inspire and empower people to make aspirational choices about higher education and learning
  • deliver trusted and flexible admissions services for the digital age
  • be the go-to place for higher education data-driven insights
  • connect the world to UK higher education
  • embed efficiency and value in everything we do
  • be an employer of choice where people flourish, perform, and achieve

This recognises there are many pathways to higher education. By embracing the wide perspective of the student journey – which may take in an apprenticeship and employment – we can extend our support for non-traditional students.

Our history 

A centralised admissions service for undergraduate admissions to higher education dates back to 1961 when UCCA (Universities Central Council on Admissions) was formed, to help universities effectively manage multiple applications from students.

UCCA merged with its partner organisations PCAS (Polytechnics Central Admissions System) and SCUE (Standing Conference on University Entrance) in 1993 to create one independent service – UCAS.

As a centralised admissions service, we encourage students to consider courses and learning opportunities across the UK and promote choice.

Our values

Customer-focused, accountable, collaborative, service excellence, and trusted.

Our core values are at the heart of our culture. They underpin how we work, communicate, and help us uphold the high standards we're known for.

How we are governed

UCAS is managed by the Executive Team of Directors, and its Board of Trustees.