30,000 pupils will miss out on degrees

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The number of pupils missing out on a university place this summer has soared by more than 30,000. Figures from Ucas, the university admissions service, show that 141,118 applicants eligible for a place failed to get one compared with 109,103 last year.

They were revealed by the shadow Universities spokesman David Willetts, who said: "This year saw a record number of university applicants but sadly it is also seeing record numbers missing out. The huge rise in demand was perfectly predictable with population increases as well as the inevitable extra demand created by a recession."

More than 600,000 people applied for a place this year, a 10 per cent increase on 2008, but only 13,000 extra places were provided, including 10,000 in strategic subjects such as maths, science and engineering for which universities did not receive extra funding.

The Conservatives have pledged to provide an additional 10,000 places next year, fully funded from repaid student loans. Ucas pointed out that not all of the applicants eligible for a place through clearing would have been pursuing one. Some would have been international students given a place in another country, while others would have decided to take a gap year.