UK: Rush for university intensifies

More than half of the UK university places on offer through clearing have already been snapped up, according to new figures suggesting there are now 14 students chasing every degree still available, writes Polly Curtis for The Guardian. Four days after A-level results were published, universities were fast running out of spaces after a squeeze triggered by a 10% increase in applications and a cap on student numbers introduced by ministers to cut spending.

The former Labour education secretary Estelle Morris stepped into the row over the shortage of places, criticising the government's decision to fund only 10,000 extra slots in science and maths courses. It was an irony, she said, that the government had capped places after spending 10 years arguing that more people should go to university.

Record numbers are going to university this year, with 401,310 people confirmed for entry in autumn, compared with 361,760 at the same point last year, Ucas, the organisation that processes applications, said last week. Some 12,318 students have already succeeded through clearing, the system for allocating left-over places, compared with 4,767 at the same point last year. But 141,130 would-be students are still attempting to fill a last-minute vacancy - up from 118,511 last year.
Full report on The Guardian site