This year, according to figures form the admissions group UCAS, a third more places at university in the UK have been filled through clearing than at the same time last year.
The amount of places taken up through the system, which puts students into remaining university places, was up by 31%—17,878 this year as opposed to 13,597 last year. This was recorded on Monday.
Better than Expected
Experts had expected a scramble for places as more A-level students had higher grades and applications to university were at a record high due to attempts to get into school before the tuition fee rise of 2012. However, UCAS maintained that the pressure only rose slightly in comparison with last year.
The amount of students applying this year was 684,098, only 10,000 more than last year’s applicants. The number of places remains at approximately 480,000 the same amount as last year. By Monday, a total of 425,487 places had been filled, only 10,000 more than last year. Another 55,000 have yet to be filled.
It is still unclear if the remaining 55,000 places will be given to applicants who have already applied for a place or through using the clearing system further. However, UCAS has insinuated that fewer places will be available through clearing, as more universities are accepting students directly.
Those Without a Place
In 2010, the number of students allocated places through clearing was around 47,000—an option for students that were either not offered places or did not make the grades for places they had been offered earlier.
Additionally, 61,737 applicants are still awaiting a decision. According to UCAS head Mary Curnock-Cook, this is “the most competitive year in history”. However, total applications are up by only 1%, with larger increases in previous years. Nearly 220,000 students will not be given a place this year, another record. However, according to UCAS, using information from past years, half of those students will either deny places they were offered or withdraw applications.
Though the fees are set to increase, Ms. Curnock-Cook believes that those who are not offered a place this year should re-apply next year anyway, despite the rise in tuition fees. Government ministers also have been suggesting this option.