Applicants face scramble to avoid tuition fees hike

By Phil Scullion

Over 200,000 university applicants are to miss out on places this year due to a frenzied last-minute rush, the head of the admission service has warned.

Last summer saw a chaotic scramble for places which saw 210,000 potential students miss out and this year could be a "carbon copy", especially with the spectre of next year's tuition fee introduction hanging over applicants.

Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of the University and College Admissions Service (Ucas), gave an interview to the Independent newspaper in which she said disappointed teenagers would have to accept it if their applications were deemed "not strong enough".

Any applicants who are unsuccessful this year have the option of reapplying next year, but English students will then have to face the full higher rate of tuition fees.

Ms Curnock Cook said: "Applying next year is a pretty good option, really. They are going to be in a more difficult tuition-fee regime but there is some really good information about the new tuition-fees regime.

"You could see it as a more affordable regime than the present, even though you may be paying back over a longer time."

There has been a 1.4% increase in applications this year, but the number of university places remains the same.

Next year applications are expected to go down, although Ms Curnock Cook said impending tuition fees were not the only reason for this, adding that there are many "downward pressures".