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Universities will be forced to compete harder than ever to fill empty places after the release of A-Level results next week, as experts report that a dip in UK university applications means a “great year for students”.
Some Russell Group universities will lower their entry requirements in a bid to enlist students onto under-subscribed courses, sector leaders predict.
Applications to UK universities were down by 4 percent this year, due to a sharp fall in the number of applications from European Union students as well as a broader long-term decline in the size of the youth population.
As a result, ‘clearing’ – the process where students who do not achieve the grades required for their preferred university search for spaces on a rival, under-subscribed courses – will be more competitive than ever, as admissions teams scramble to fill empty places.
“Clearing will be as competitive as previous years, if not more so because of the demographic dip,”
Christine Edgar, head of student recruitment and admissions at the University of Sheffield, told Times Higher Education (THE).
“It’s going to be a great year for students,” she added.
Durham, Edinburgh, Bristol, and other top Russell Group universities are all offering places through clearing this year.
Mike Nicholson, director of student recruitment and admissions at the University of Bath, said that many universities will use their ranking in the government’s recent Teaching Excellence Framework to lure students in.
He also predicted that many of the UK’s most competitive institutions will dip into the pool of students with grades lower than they would usually accept.