No places left at two Welsh universities

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Two Welsh universities have declared themselves full a week before A-level results are announced and the annual clearing system gets under way.

Aberystwyth University and Trinity College Carmarthen say they will not enter clearing, which matches applicants with spare university places, this year for the first time.

The nine other Welsh universities say fewer clearing places will be on offer. Universities have been able to fill places early as applications have increased around 12 per cent on average while the number of places has not risen in line with demand.

Universities fear recruiting too many students in case they incur fines. Last year, universities which went above the government-set target number of students faced fines totalling £4m.

The Welsh Assembly has asked the body that funds universities to ensure they do not recruit above agreed numbers this summer, while a cap on places will be introduced next year.

The shortage of university places will make this year's clearing system difficult. This comes when the number of students from England who choose to study in Wales has increased. Last year the number of students from England increased by 14 per cent.