Education & Family

Record numbers have university places confirmed

Students discuss results
Image caption Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their results on Thursday

A record number of students have had their university places confirmed, figures from admissions body Ucas show.

The number of students with places at UK universities for this autumn now stands at 412,170, up 3% on the same point in 2013.

The figure could eventually top half a million, according to Ucas.

Some top institutions are this year taking part in the annual clearing process for students who are still looking for places.

So far, 360,500 students, around 70%, have places on their first choice course - a rise of 2% on this time last year.

Some 31,540 have had places confirmed on their second, or so-called insurance course, with a further 80,030 people still waiting to have offers confirmed.

Buyer's market

More than 7,280 people have found places through clearing.

Of these, 1,940 applied direct to clearing rather than through the usual university application system.

Ucas says that so far, some 320 students, who received better results than expected, have used its adjustment system to "trade up" to a course they prefer.

A Ucas spokesman urged people hoping to use the clearing system to find a university place not to leave it too late as it expects about two-thirds of available places to be filled by Monday.

Yesterday, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A-level results.

There was a slight fall in A* and A grades and the pass rate is down for the first time in more than 30 years - but overall grades are broadly similar to last year.

This year is expected to be an unusually good year to apply to university, with a "buyer's market" in which universities are competing to attract students.

The government has made an extra 30,000 university places available.

More flexibility

In addition, universities are now allowed to admit an unlimited number of students with at least an A and two Bs.

It is expected that, for the first time, more than half a million places will be allocated for degree courses this autumn.

So far, universities been showing more flexibility than usual in accepting students who just missed their grades.

More universities than usual are also expected to take part in the clearing process - including many Russell Group institutions where competition for places can be intense.

Russell Group director general, Wendy Piatt has suggested there may still be places for students who had better grades than expected or who had narrowly missed out on their first choice.

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