Leap in number of students with university places

10th August 2012 at 01:00
And despite the rise, opportunities to enter FE and HE through clearing have not diminished

The number of students accepted into university has risen by nearly 700 compared with last year, Ucas figures revealed this week.

Despite the increase, there has been little change in the number of places available through clearing, indicating a slight overall rise in the chances for young Scots to secure a place in further or higher education.

The rise in acceptances could be due to factors including record exam passes and changes in demand for places from foreign students.

The number of places in clearing is still very limited this year compared with a few years ago on account of increased competition for places, but there has been no significant change compared with last year, according to Linda Wilkie, assistant service manager at Gateway, which runs the www.planitplus.net clearing database.

She expects university, HND and HNC places to fill quickly, with courses in childcare and sport among the most popular.

As TESS went to press, up to 100 places were still to be filled at Glasgow Caledonian University. Last year, the university was not involved in clearing at all.

Napier University said it had more clearing places available than last year, mostly in computing, creative industry courses and engineering. By Tuesday evening, Abertay still had vacancies in over 20 courses. The University of Glasgow still had some places available at its Dumfries campus, and a small number of places remained at Queen Margaret, Stirling, the University of the West of Scotland and Dundee.

Universities Scotland's deputy director, Simon Jennings, said: "Importantly, the vast majority of well-qualified applicants will get a place at university this year as has been the case in previous years."

Although most colleges have seen a high demand for their courses and have largely filled them, almost all are also involved in clearing for some courses.

At City of Glasgow College, Scotland's biggest college, only "a handful of places" remained, Roy Gardner, commercial director at the college, told TESS.

However, he stressed the situation was broadly similar to last year, and with HE courses at the college in direct competition with the universities, this week's clearing day would also serve to fill waiting lists to replace those students who took up university places.

julia.belgutay@tess.co.uk

JUMPING THE GUN

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has asked the admissions service Ucas to review its procedures after two Scottish universities accidentally published some exam results before the official day.

At the University of St Andrews, the publication of 65 applicants' results on its website almost a week early was attributed to an error made when uploading results from Ucas on to the system at St Andrews. The university was involved in a similar incident in 2010.

Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University said an email sent a day early to 370 prospective students, saying they had gained a place at the university, had been down to a "technical glitch".

An SQA spokesman "We have been in touch with Ucas . and are now making a formal request for a review of the mechanisms they have in place with universities throughout the UK . to ensure that issues of this nature don't occur again."

The authority condemned the breach as "very disappointing" and is seeking assurances "that the errors which occurred this year cannot be repeated".

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