Lecturers and students unions yesterday warned that increased fees will see even more youth denied higher education, as new figures confirmed that a record 209,253 missed out on a university place this summer.
The figures, from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), revealed that one in three who applied did not get a place at university.
In total, 688,310 people applied and 479,057 (69.6 per cent) were accepted. In the previous year, 633,592 people applied and 477,277 (75.3 per cent) were accepted.
Responding to the figures, the general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), Sally Hunt, said: ‘Record numbers of people missed out on a place at university this summer and we will be incredibly disappointed if any minister tries to spin their way out of this by saying there are more students at university.
‘At a time of record demand, over 200,000 students, one in three who applied, missed out on a university place because the government scrapped plans to fund additional places.
‘Other countries around the world are investing in universities and in students.
‘We, however, seem intent on doing the opposite, despite George Osborne yesterday having the nerve to say that universities were the jewel in our economic crown.
‘The chancellor and the country will quickly learn that warm words won’t save our universities.’
National Union of Students President Aaron Porter said: ‘Lord Browne has opted to focus on ramping up the costs to students by removing the fee cap to fill a black hole created by huge, self-defeating cuts to universities.
‘If his proposals were adopted, the door to opportunities and skills that higher education offers looks set to be slammed in the face of yet more applicants next year and for many years to come.’