Locating course vacancies via clearing takes time and can be frustrating - students have to search lists of nationally available courses, then phone the universities' clearing hotlines. Last year, 25 per cent of university places were secured in clearing by more than 50,000 students. For those whose grades are disappointing, consolation is on the way in the form ofnbsp; a free online clearing service to be launched on August 16, results day, by Ecctis, the Government's official database of British university course information (www.ecctis.co.uk).
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