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Universities: Admissions

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2515, tabled on 7 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students have been paid to defer their university course for 12 months; and what the total amount of money spent is.

Answered on

22 September 2021

Throughout this year’s admissions cycle, we have encouraged providers to do everything they can to enable students who wish to enter higher education this year to do so. In a small number of cases, providers have seen more students meet the terms of their offers than they have capacity to accommodate, and these providers have agreed alternatives with these students, which may include a place on another course or an incentivised deferral. We do not record the number of students who have accepted incentivised deferrals at providers: this is a private arrangement between the provider and the individual student. In any year, some students choose to defer for a number of reasons.

The latest data for the admissions cycle (as at 28 days after A level results day) show that the total number of English students accepted has increased compared with 2020 and 2019, with both deferrals and non-deferrals increasing. The proportion of successful English applicants deferring this year is 0.7 percentage points greater than in 2019.

No funding has been provided by the government for incentivised deferrals. Rather, we have provided funding to increase capacity so that more students can take up their places this year, making available up to £10 million in additional grant funding to higher education providers through the Office for Students to help them to increase capacity in medical, dental, nursing, science, technology, engineering, maths, and other high-cost subjects. The government has also provided funding to provide incentives to students to switch from oversubscribed providers to providers with capacity in medicine and dentistry.

Alongside this, we have worked with universities, Health Education England, the Medical Schools Council and the General Medical Council to assess and agree how many additional places on medical and dentistry courses could be provided. Students who held a firm or insurance offer at an oversubscribed medical or dental school were contacted by their current university about a £10,000 incentive to change schools under the 2021 Medical School Student Incentivised Transfer Scheme. Students were given the opportunity to transfer to an alternative university which has space and to receive a financial incentive to do so. Participation in the scheme was entirely optional. This has supported more than 80 students to move from oversubscribed medical and dental schools to those which had additional capacity.