Data released by the Department for Education (DfE) has revealed that more people are studying a degree than ever before, with 49.3% likely to go to University before the age of 30, the highest on record.
In 2007 the percentage of individuals who were likely to go to University was 41.7%.
Figures also show that the gender gap among students in higher education has also reached a record high too, with around 55% of women in higher education in 2015/16 compared with just 43% of men.
It is the third year in a row that that gap has widened, according to the DfE figures.
Discussing the figures, Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: “These statistics show the numbers of students are continuing to rise and adds further evidence that the Government’s reforms to widen participation in our world class higher education sector are working.
“Young people recognise that degrees gained from UK universities can lead to rewarding and well-paid jobs – this is why more people are going to university than ever before, including record numbers of 18-year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
But critics claim that too many young people are led to believe that going into higher education is the only respectable option.
Speaking to The Telegraph, former Harrow headmaster Barnaby Lenon, said: “I am sick of not particularly academic students saying they are going off to read English or Psychology – just because they have been told to.
“We need far better careers advice in schools that doesn’t automatically tell you to read English at Exeter University.”