Many of the UK's leading universities have stiffened entry requirements in the wake of a flood of applications and funding cuts that could result in the axing of thousands of teaching jobs.
The cuts come after last week's announcement by the Higher Education Council for England that £449m would be stripped out of the university budgets in 2010 and 2011.
It is thought that 15,000 posts could disappear as a result of the move. Lecturers at Leeds have voted to strike this week, while further industrial action is being mooted in a number of institutions.
The changes come as UCAS, the admissions body, is expected to indicate that up to a third of students could miss out on a place at University this year.
It comes as figures released today are expected to show that applications for university places were up 12 per cent on the same time last year. According to University UK, more than 700,000 are expected to apply in 2010, but up to 250,000 could be left without a place.