Universities flash the cash in clearing war

First it was iPads and laptops. Now students are offered fee rebates as recruitment battle hots up

Cash incentives to students are being stepped up as universities go to war with each other to fill places this autumn, an investigation by The Independent on Sunday has found.

Some are even offering rewards to students who fail to meet the Government's criteria of at least one A grade and two Bs for allowing universities to increase the number of places they offer.

Last week it emerged some top universities were offering mini iPads and laptops to lure students onto courses. At Coventry, students applying to the computing and engineering department with three B-grade passes are being offered an incentive of £1,000 towards fees or £1,500 towards the cost of university accommodation. Newman University in Birmingham is also extending a £10,000 grant available to students over their three-year study period to those with a minimum of three B-grade passes on its non-teacher training courses. It said it has also received an unusually high number of applications from students with A or B grade passes.

The growth in incentives comes as the recruitment war between universities intensifies, with many of the country's leading universities taking advantage of the Government's new policy to increase their intake. Exeter University is recruiting 600 extra students this year while Northampton said it was taking up the Government's offer in order to expand the number of places it was offering through clearing.

Around 80 universities responded to an IoS investigation into student admissions this year, the first of the new policy. It was being predicted that the expansion of elite universities' numbers could mean others struggle to fill their places.

The universities minister David Willetts said: "There will be some that fill up quickly and others who don't do so well. That's how an open, more flexible system works."

Other incentives offered include a fee waiver by Goldsmiths, University of London, for the 10 most exceptional students from its local borough of Lewisham. Cash incentives of up to £2,000 a year were also being offered by Salford, Bangor, Bradford and Glasgow.

This year's A-level results saw a slight drop in the number of A* and A grades awarded, down by 0.3 percentage points to 26.3 per cent. However, the percentage of students achieving A* to B-grade passes rose from 52.6 per cent to 52.9 per cent.

City University in London is just one institution that, as a result, was encouraging those who exceeded grades for a firm offer at other universities to contact them and "adjust" to their own equivalent course.

The subjects still on offer differed from university to university: Coventry and Pearson College, the latter run by the FTSE company and granted degree-awarding powers, reported places left on their business and economics degrees, as did the for-profit private university BPP. Suffolk, the University of West England and Bangor had spaces in creative arts, the humanities, social science and business subjects.

Healthcare courses were popular with Bradford, and South Bank University in London closed many of its nursing courses by Thursday morning. Manchester University, which whittled down its remaining vacancies from 300 to 100 by Friday lunchtime, said most unfilled places were on modern language courses.

The New College of the Humanities, the university in London whose master is the philosopher Professor AC Grayling, and which charges fees of £18,000 a year, reported vacancies through clearing on all its courses but pointed out that, as a private university, it was not restricted by government rules on student numbers.

Some of those universities left in clearing said they had high minimum qualifications for their remaining places and that only students with at least one B-grade and two A-grade passes should apply.

At least six of the 24 Russell Group of elite universities – Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Bristol, Imperial College and the London School of Economics – are not involved in clearing because all of their places are filled.

There are still spaces available to students with lesser qualifications: Bedfordshire and Bath Spa were among those universities willing to accept three D-grade passes, but which said that they would judge prospective students on a case-by-case basis.

Additional research by Miranda Dobson and Hayley Parr

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea