The data show that more than half of students who went directly to clearing in 2013 were 21 or older. Only one quarter of applicants to the main Ucas scheme, which sees students apply for places on up to five courses up to a year before entry, fell into this age group.
Although women comprise the majority of early applicants (57 per cent), men make up the majority (51 per cent) of those going direct to clearing. Applicants from England make up 82 per cent of late applicants compared with 69 per cent of those using the main scheme.
Clearing applicants are also more likely to be from disadvantaged backgrounds (33 per cent) than those who get their applications in before the June deadline ( per cent), according to the analysis note published on 31 July.