York was the only member of the elite Russell Group that was still advertising spaces in clearing last week. The University was one of 110 universities and higher education colleges that were still seeking students from Britain and the EU to join them ahead of the start of term.
There were vacancies on 68 courses at the University and many blame the large number of spaces on the huge rise in tuition fees, something that was reiterated by Kallum Taylor, YUSU President.
This year will be the first that English students starting university courses will have to pay £9,000 fees. The universities with the most vacancies appear to almost all be those planning to charge the maximum tuition fee.
In June it was revealed that applications to UCAS for University had fallen by 8.9 per cent compared to last year. Previously, York fared better and bucked the trend with only a 5.3 per cent drop in from 18,429 to 19,459 applications.
Whilst York was the only member of the Russell Group still advertising, some members of the 1994 group were also looking for vacancies to be filled. Other top institutions advertising places, included Lancaster, Leicester, Sussex, Surrey and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
In comparison to some, York could be seen to have performed well, with 24 universities having 200 or more courses with places left.
A spokesperson for the University commented on the clearing places, saying York was performing better than other institutions.
“We are much closer to our admissions target than many of our competitors. We shall be welcoming around 3,000 first year undergraduates to York next week, a similar figure to last year.”
They added that it was best to adapt to changes in the application process and take advantage of them. “We are in a completely new admissions environment. Remaining in clearing until the start of Registration Week was a sensible approach, given that there are no restrictions on admitting AAB students.
“Well-qualified students, who may be ‘trading up’ from other universities or whose plans have changed, are still keen to come to York, so it is wise to signpost those courses which have some limited capacity.”
Taylor pointed to the rise in tuition fees as one of the reasons for places still being available. “There are plenty of reasons for the number of clearing places, including the huge increase in tuition fees and students failing to achieve expected ‘A’ grades. In fact, York has performed relatively well; some similar universities were advertising spaces long after ours were filled.”