Thousands To Miss University Places

(Telegraph) – THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS will be denied university places following a surge in applications, according to data published by the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS).

The figures showed that demand for British universities increased by almost 10% this year.

Numbers are up by more than 52,000, as record numbers of students turn to higher education amid dire warnings of job shortages.

The rise has been fuelled by unemployed workers attempting to improve their skills during the recession. Applications among British over-25s were up by 22% compared with 2008, UCAS said.

Practical courses leading directly to a job — including journalism, nursing, aerospace engineering and hospitality, leisure, tourism and transport — also showed the biggest increases.

But the Government has capped the number of additional places available at universities, with MPs warning that only 3,000 more courses will be available for full-time undergraduates.

Vice-chancellors have already warned that entrance criteria will be dramatically tightened up this year, with the number of places handed out through clearing slumping to a new low.

Many students missing conditional offers by a single grade, who would have been accepted in the past, could also be rejected, they said.

The Conservatives accused ministers of ‘sleepwalking into a crisis.’

David Willetts, the shadow skills secretary, said: ‘Young people are becoming the biggest victims of this recession. The number of young people not in education, employment or training is already at record levels and now we are on course to have a record number of young people refused a university place.’

Ministers originally promised 10,000 additional places would be created this year, but Phil Willis, chairman of the Commons skills select committee, said only 3,000 would be available for full-time undergraduates.

It would potentially leave almost 50,000 without a place. This is on top of some 110,000 rejected every year after failing to meet entry requirements; applying too late; or dropping out of the process.

… (20/07/2009) – Government Adds 10,000 Higher Education Places

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