However, pressure on single subject arts and social science courses is proving as heavy as expected: although there are still places available on single subject courses, the bulk of the remaining places are for combined subjects, or for science and engineering.
For example, a couple of smaller institutions are offering English degree courses, but there are no vacancies listed for English as a single subject at the old universities. Places to study subjects such as physiotherapy and social work have almost dried up.
The number accepted is well up on the same time last year: 247,500, compared with 228,000. However, rejections are up, from 211,000 to 240,000, because so many more people applied.
That leaves 66,000 applications yet to be confirmed or rejected. Anyone who has applied through Pcas (the clearing house for the former polytechnics and higher education colleges) will be deemed rejected unless their place is confirmed by tonight: for Ucca applicants that 'rejection by default' deadline does not arrive until 10 September.
At former polytechnics and colleges, the number of courses showing vacancies is running at 4,878 - 58 per cent of the total number of courses offered. This time last year only 50 per cent of the courses were still showing vacancies.
The old universities, which still appear in separate Ucca listings, have filled their courses more quickly. Of the 13,544 courses offered, 3,165 are showing vacancies - a figure also up on last year.
Pcas said yesterday, however, that the picture was 'changing very rapidly'. More courses are expected to have entered clearing by the time the listings next appear - in the Independent on Sunday - while some showing vacancies now are likely to fill up next week.
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