This year’s acceptance figures are down 2 per cent on 2021, which was a record figure of 435,000

A-level results: 46% rise in the number of students left without a university place

Holly Robinson hugs her friend after she receives her A Level results at Ffynone House School in Swansea, on 18 August 2021. (Photo: Matthew Horwood/ Getty)

By Molly Blackall

More than 20,000 A-level students found out this morning that they did not have a university place after receiving today’s results according to university admissions service Ucas.

The 20,360 total is up 46 per cent on the 13,930 students left without a place on results morning last year, though down from 24,260 in 2019 when exams were last sat before Covid.

Today’s A level results have seen the number of top A* and A top grades plunge as exams regulator Ofqual began to tackle two years of panemic grade inflation.

In total, 425,830 students have been accepted on to degree courses, according to Ucas; down 2 per cent on the same point last year. There are more than 27,000 university courses available in clearing, as well as apprenticeships, the admissions service said.

Despite the higher numbers of students left without a place in higher education, this year is still the second highest year for university admissions ever.

Last year broke the record for degree course acceptance, with 435,430 people confirming places. This year’s total is up 16,870 on 2019, when exams were last held.

According to Ucas, the number of 18-year-olds in the UK who got their first or insurance choice increased this year, up 19 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

It also said that the number of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds had nearly doubled when measured against pre-pandemic years, from 3,770 in 2019 to 6,850 in 2022.

Around 12.3 per cent of the full-time undergraduate places – which make up the bulk of the offers – were held by international students, down from a high of 14.7 per cent in 2019.

2022 admissions have seen “continued growth” in the number of students from nations including Nigeria, which is up 42 per cent, China, up 35 per cent, India, up 27 per cent.

“Today we have seen more students progress compared to the last time students sat exams,” Ucas chief executive Claire Marchant.

“This year has seen a growth in the number of 18-year-olds in the population, which will continue for the remainder of the decade, and creates a more competitive environment for students in the years to come.

“While many will be celebrating today, there will be some who are disappointed. My advice is to take advantage of the wide range of choices on offer, which includes over 27,000 courses in clearing, along with a range of apprenticeship opportunities.”

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