UK: Universities face fines over defying students cap

UK universities face multi-million pound fines after evidence suggested they broke a government-imposed cap on student numbers by up to 22,000 places after a 10% surge in applications, writes Polly Curtis for The Guardian.

Fears that thousands of well-qualified students would be prevented from starting a degree this year seem to have been avoided after universities defied an order to restrict places. Official data, seen by The Guardian, revealed that as the new term started universities had accepted 35,000 more students than last September, despite an order that only 13,000 more be allowed. Vice-chancellors face being fined for every student admitted over the official limit.

There has been unprecedented pressure on the admissions systems this year with 60,000 extra applications, fuelled in part by older applicants seeking to do a degree during the recession. Ministers capped the number of extra places after discovering a £200m black hole in their university financing.
Full report on The Guardian site