Record numbers of A-level pupils could grab a university place through clearing this year, it was reported today.
The clearing process is used to match students who have failed to get the grades they needed for their original university offer, have decided to decline their offers, or missed the application deadline, with courses that still have suitable places available.
Clare Marchant, chief executive of Ucas, the universities’ admission body, is reported as saying that she expects 80,000 students to take up places this year – almost double the number that went through clearing 10 years ago.
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Ms Marchant told The Independent: “It’s a different market than it was 10 years ago, even five years ago, and I think that students are much more understanding of the fact that they have choices to make.
“Certainly we at Ucas are promoting that, so some of our messaging around clearing has been, rather than the sort of slightly negative panic, that this is plan A for a lot of students.”
There is expected to be an increasing amount of competition between universities to recruit students this year, as the cap on student numbers has been lifted and the number of 18-year-olds in the population has fallen.
An analysis by The Independent also found that 30,000 courses – including more than 4,600 courses at the top Russell Group universities – still have spaces.