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4th October 2012

Universities ‘still advertising vacancies’ days before term starts

‘Prestigious’ universities still advertising places for over 13,500 courses

More than 13,500 university courses are still advertising vacancies, just days before most universities begin the academic year.

24 universities had 200 or more courses which were unfilled, and Manchester Metropolitan University was cited by The Telegraph as having one of the largest numbers of course vacancies alongside Northampton, Sunderland and Hull, amongst others.

 “Like most universities nationally, we are slightly down on last year”, stated a Manchester Metropolitan University spokesperson.  “However, this year we have recruited more students with top AAB grades than we have done previously, while still finding places for the students with slightly lower grades”.

Places were still being offered as of Friday the 28th September from prestigious institutions such as York, Surrey, Leicester and Lancaster – the latter three all begin their academic terms this week, while York’s term begins on the 8th October.

When courses such as Higher National Diplomas and two-year foundation courses are taken into account, the figure soars to almost 21,000.

UCAS’s ‘Clearing’ facility was closed on Sunday, but many courses still remained unfilled. Students now must contact individual universities directly to claim places.

Analysis showed that Universities with the largest number of vacancies ‘almost always’ sought to charge average fees of between £8,000 and £9,000 – fuelling more speculation that the government’s new tuition fees regime is discouraging students from applying.

“There is real concern that the government’s experiment will lead to many who would benefit not going to university,” said general secretary of the University and College Union Sally Hunt.

Figures published last month showed that the number of British and EU students accepting places onto degree courses had fallen by almost 57,000 – a 12 percent drop.

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