Record number of students through clearing as universities scramble to fill course places

A record number of students have taken up places on degrees through clearing this year, official figures show, as universities were left scrambling to fill vacancies on courses. The Independent reports. 

One month after A-level results day, 60,100 people have found places at British universities using the process, according to figures released by Ucas university admissions service.

The number of students placed in a UK university after applying directly through clearing, rather than through the main scheme, rose by 6 per cent, from 13,640 last year to a record 14,410.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, told The Independent: “Universities lower down the pecking order will have been feeling the pinch and will have had to take a more generous view of entry qualifications in order to fill their places.”

But he added that students would also have taken the opportunity to “trade up” through clearing – amid a falling population and a rise in university degree places on offer.

“Tuition fee income is essential for universities to balance their books and in the circumstances I think that analysis would show that universities are both admitting applicants on lower A-level grades and taking a wider range of qualifications and experience into account,” he said.

Read more Record number of students through clearing as universities scramble to fill course places

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