Officials at the Universities Central Council on Admissions (UCCA) expect the figure to rise to 12,000 - giving a total of 130,000 - by the end of this month when Clearing closes. Institutions that recruit through the Polytechnics Central Admissions System (PCAS), including the former polytechnics and colleges of higher education, say there will be an increase of between 14 per cent and 18 per cent on last year's numbers.
An UCCA spokesman said: 'I suspect there will be oversubscription on some courses because A-level results were better than expected. Once universities have made provisional offers, they have to accept any student who gets the grades.'
There are still several thousand places available in higher education. UCCA and PCAS lists appear in the Independent today and will again on Thursday, in the Independent on Sunday at the weekend and three times a week for the rest of the month.
Course vacancies, pages 11-15