Several Russell Group universities offered more than a hundred places to students through clearing and adjustment for the first time this year, a survey conducted by Impact has uncovered.

Nottingham, Exeter, Newcastle and Birmingham Universities’ admissions departments all confirmed that a new government policy has allowed universities which traditionally do not go through the clearing and adjustment processes to offer more places after results are released.

The initiative, introduced by the government in light of fee increases, now allows universities to accept as many students with AAB grades at A-level as they wish to without being fined. Many universities, including Nottingham, subsequently opened up places on a long list of popular courses.

Rachel Atkin, Nottingham’s Director of Admissions, said the University had offered between 100 and 150 places through clearing and adjustment. “I imagine we will be in a very similar position to other Russell Group universities”, she added.

After the first day of clearing and adjustment, the University of Exeter told Impact that over 100 places had been awarded. In 2011 Exeter didn’t offer a single additional place.

The University of Birmingham’s Director of Admissions told a similar tale, “In 2011 we made six offers through clearing and adjustment combined. This year we will probably offer around 150 new places.”

Birmingham refused to admit that a surge of offers made after clearing was down to the AAB policy. Instead they said some departments had been forced to make new offers because students had been missing the required grades. The number of A* and A grades awarded at A-level fell by 0.4% for the first time in 21 years.

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Newcastle’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, told Impact: “The Government’s changes to university admissions mean that we were still able to offer additional places in a number of subjects to students who have achieved AAB or better in their exams.”

It is expected that the number of offers made through clearing and adjustment  will increase again next year now the government has granted universities the power to accept an unlimited number of students with grades ABB and above.

Oscar Williams

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