Students face fight for places

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(First Edition)

THOUSANDS of young people and aspiring mature prospective well-qualified students people will be denied university or college education places at higher education institutions next year because of the Government's brake on expansion, it was revealed yesterday, writes Ngaio Crequer.

A record number of students are seeking places for 1994-95. The number of candidates seeking places is up by 3.3 per cent, which means that there are more than 10,000 more than last year, but they are chasing the same number of places - 250,000. people seeking places than there were at the same time last year. There are 430,000 applications for chasing around 250,000 places. but many people will have made more than one application for more than one so the number of people involved is not yet known. precise numbers of figures will not be known until bodies take seats.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, said yesterday it expected to see a growth in student numbers. The government had miscalculated in November when it said there would be fewer places next year.

there is still unmet demand in the system. The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals said: 'There will be significant cuts in intakes. Applications to universities are still rising. Many well-qualified students will be turned away.' This view was endorsed by Graeme correctDavies, correctchief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which decides how government money is spent. He said: 'This is probably correct because demand is increasing.'

We cannot give a precise figure for the numbers of people who will not get places.'

Some colleges will be told next month that they should cut restrict their student intakes by up to 10 per cent. The council has penalised those universities that which have taken in more students than they should have done, after the Government tried to reign in expansion.

As a result, it will be much harder for students will find the process of trying to find a higher education place. much harder. universities will be penalised if they overshoot their recruitment targets. They will ask for very high grades from prospective students - to give them some flexibility in admissions - and then 'clean up' in the clearing process in the summer.

This means that a much larger number of students will not know until late in the summer whether they have gained a place at university.

The funding decisions announced yesterday relate to the distribution of pounds 3,332m for 143 higher education institutions and 76 further education colleges providing degree course work. Some colleges receive substantial extra funding because they have made successful bids to provide specialist courses.