Dole figures fuel fear over scramble for university places

By staff writers
August 17, 2011

The news that unemployment figures have risen has triggered a warning about potential students who miss out on university places when A Level results are published tomorrow (18 August).

It was reported today that the official count of UK unemployment rose by 38,000 to 2.49 million between March and June this year.

The news comes a day before an expected scramble for university places by those who miss out on places tomorrow. The number of places is more limited than usual due to government cuts.

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents academic and teaching staff, warned today that the tens of thousands of students who will miss out on a university place this summer are “unlikely to have a plan B”.

The union said that those set to miss out on a university place risk joining the dole queue. UCU also pointed to the fact that record numbers of young people are already not studying or working.

“We can expect to see a repeat of last year's frustrating situation when more than 200,000 students were left without a university place,” said Sally Hunt, UCU’s General Secretary, “Young people getting their A-level results tomorrow have been encouraged to aim higher and apply to university. They have done just that and are now having the door slammed shut in their faces.”

She added that the “real issue” for those who miss is deciding what to do next. UCU pointed out that almost one in five people aged 19-24 in England are not studying or working.

“Unless the government looks again at increasing the number of funded university places we risk consigning thousands of qualified and talented people to join the increasing numbers of the unemployed,” said Hunt.

Government cuts to higher education, along with a decision to treble tuition fees from 2012, have been sharply criticised by UCU, along with organisations including the National Union of Students and the Student Christian Movement.


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