186,000 students enter clearing for university place

More than 186,000 students entered clearing today in search of a rare vacant university place.

Competition is fierce and there are already clear signs that fewer places are available than last year.



Statistics published by the university admissions service Ucas showed there are 18,484 courses with vacancies at this stage - down from 32,000 overall last summer.



So far 186,494 applicants are eligible for clearing, around 27.7% of all applicants to university.



Last year, 140,908 students (22%) entered the process in total.



Some 47,600 students accepted places through clearing last summer, and the number is set to be smaller this year.



Earlier today, Universities Minister David Willetts apologised to students who may find themselves turned away.



Speaking at Ucas headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Mr Willetts said: "I think it is great that young people aim high, but it is competitive and sadly not every person who applies will get a place."



Asked what he would say to students left without a place at university at the end of the clearing process, he said: "I would say to them, we have done our best, there are more university places than ever before. I am sorry that they haven't got a place.



"And now, they have got a big decision to take. They can think about how they can strengthen their CV and reapply next year with something that might improve their chances.



"Alternatively they can look at options for FE colleges, going into work, going into apprenticeships. We are not writing them off, far from it, we are committed to offering them the best possible range of alternative opportunities."



Ucas said that 57.4% of the 674,037 people who applied to start undergraduate university courses this autumn have been accepted so far.



Asked how many students were likely to be left without a place at university, Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: "It is always difficult to predict because it's not just the numbers of applicants and the number of places, it's also how those places are distributed around the system.



"Within a week or so we will have a pretty good idea of how many it is.



"It will be a high number but it always is a lot of people who don't get into university every year."



Students who failed to meet the grades required for their first choice of university, and their insurance offer, as well as those who declined all their offers or did not receive any, will be entered into clearing. This is the annual process that matches students without a place to courses with spaces.



The process is expected to be short this summer.



Many of the UK's top universities do not enter clearing, while others say the number of places they usually have available has been dramatically cut.



It has been predicted that between 170,000 and 200,000 applicants, including sixth-formers and older learners, could miss out this autumn.



Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "Due to the increased pressure on places this year, competition is likely to be quite intense for the remaining courses. But we would urge applicants not to panic and to seek advice from Ucas and universities.



"Although we know that clearing will be more competitive than ever this year, we do know from Ucas that there were at least 18,000 courses, with numerous places available, in clearing this year. If applicants can be flexible, there is still a chance to gain a university place this year."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Administrator - Buckinghamshire - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine