A number of universities are making increasing numbers of offers on degree courses amid major changes to higher education and competition for top students, it has been suggested.
Less than a week before teenagers across the country receive their A-level results, many institutions – including some of the most select universities –are making plans to take part in clearing to recruit good students.
Clearing is the annual process which matches would-be undergraduates to available courses.
Under sweeping reforms to the university system, institutions are now allowed to recruit as many students as they like who score at least an A grade and two B grades at A-level or equivalent.
The move is part of a plan by the Government to free up the system and allow more good students to win a place at their first choice of university.
A survey conducted by the Press Association ahead of A-level results day indicates a rise in both applications to universities and in the numbers of offers they are making to students.
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has made around 3,326 offers, up more than 500 on last year.
Nottingham, another Russell Group university, has also made around 500 more offers, Manchester said its offers are up 10 per cent and Newcastle said it has received more applications than ever before and has “record numbers” of candidates holding an offer for one of its courses.
Lynsey Hopkins, head of admissions at Sheffield University, said it had seen a four per cent increase in applications, and a similar increase in offers. “I’d like to think that’s testament to the work we do encouraging young people to go to university, particularly in groups that wouldn’t normally do that,” she said.
Ms Hopkins suggested the move to loosen the student number cap has meant universities can make offers more liberally than they used to, as there is less worry about over-recruiting and being penalised.
The survey findings show that a number of top universities, including York, Leeds, King’s College London (KCL), Birmingham and Manchester, will have limited numbers of places in clearing.