UK students in clearing for university place at highest level in decade

A day after results were received, 53,510 UK-domiciled 18-year-old applicants were marked as ‘free to be placed in clearing’.

19 August 2022

More than 50,000 UK-based students were in clearing trying to get places on higher education courses a day after A-level exam results were released, figures show.

This year’s number is the highest since at least 2013, and compares with 39,230 in clearing at the same point last year.

The number of students accepted on to UK degree courses fell this year, initial data from Ucas showed on Thursday, but was still the second highest on record.

On the day results were published, 425,830 people had places confirmed – down 2% on the same point last year but up 16,870 compared with 2019 when exams were last held, Ucas said.

By Friday morning, there were 53,510 UK-domiciled 18-year-old applicants marked as “free to be placed in clearing” on the Ucas website.

A total of 214,930 UK-domiciled students got their first choice, compared with 226,910 last year.

The organisation’s chief executive Clare Marchant said the growth in the number of 18-year-olds in the population is something that is likely to create “a more competitive environment for students in the years to come”.

The number of international 18-year-olds getting their first choice this year rose to 19,830 – up from 18,870 last year.

The figure was down from just over 20,000 in both 2019 and 2020, but up on each of the previous years dating back to 2013.

Places for students from China, India and Nigeria are all up – increasing by 35%, 27% and 43% on last year respectively, Ucas said.

Hundreds of thousands of pupils across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who sat exams this summer for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, received their results on Thursday.

A-level grades for students across the UK dropped from pandemic highs, but remained above 2019 levels.

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