Six of the twenty-four Russell Group universities were available through UCAS Clearing this year, a rarity for the Group. Some members of the Group have never been offered through Clearing before.
The Russell Group blamed this rise on the changes to the English funding system for universities. Universities would have been heavily fined had they exceeded their quotas, but the lower than expected number of AAB grades (80,00 rather than 85,000) has meant many students holding Conditional offers did not meet the required grades. The stricter than normal selection system from each university, in an attempt to avoid fines, has led to some students who hold the correct grades but were not allowed entry.
Higher Education Secretary David Willets believed it likely the fewer people will now attend university. This could lead to a potential loss of funding for universities if they cannot recruit enough students. The University of Glasgow, a member of the Russell Group, avoided Clearing this year. The University responded to the potential threat of losing funding in the future with confidence, not expecting the drop in students to affect Glasgow itself.
A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “We have not been involved in clearing for some years on our main campus site. We do offer a handful of place – this year fewer than 15 – through clearing on our Dumfries campus. We have no reason to believe that this position will change in the future.”
The members of the Russell Group that entered into clearing included the University of Nottingham, Queen Mary’s, University of London, the University of York, the Queen’s University of Belfast, the University of Birmingham and the University of Sheffield. At time of going to print, according to The Telegraph University Course Finder, five of the six still have places to fill. Queen Mary’s, University of London is the only one now closed.