Figures suggest tight battle for college places

THE squeeze for places in college looks set to be extremely tight later this week as the numbers already taking up offers is almost 800 more than a year ago.

The Central Applications Office (CAO) registered 37,171 acceptances of the places offered to 49,408 college applicants a week ago, up to yesterday evening’s deadline, in addition to 7,100 people who took up earlier offers. At the same stage a year ago, 36,392 acceptances were made on top of 7,254 earlier acceptances.

The next stage of offers will issued on Thursday morning but the figures suggest fewer than the 5,000 offers made in last year’s second round will get good news. The deadline for accepting the offers made this week is tomorrow week, September 7.

After the first round of CAO offers eight days ago, almost 19,200 of this year’s 76,238 college applicants still had no place, 2,150 fewer than last year. By the 2010 second round, however, more than half of the level 8 courses were already filled.

Of nearly 45,600 third-level places filled by the CAO last year, 43,348 were taken up at this stage, but that has now risen to just under 44,000.

Less than 1,500 applicants who were unsuccessful in previous stages got a second round offer last year. But more than 2,500 were offered a place on a course from higher up their list than one for which they had already been made an offer.

Tomorrow is the deadline for applying to councils and vocational education committees (VECs) for student maintenance grants.



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