Universities are offering students £10,000 to defer their courses for a year

Amy O'Neill

Universities across the UK after offering students £10,000 and free accommodation to defer their place after a record number of admissions.

With A-Level exams cancelled for a second consecutive year and exams scrapped in favour of teacher-assessed grades, UCAS predicted that 'record numbers’ of students were expected to get into their first choice university this year. Now it look like that's been the case, with universities across the UK reporting up to 75% of students meeting their offers after Results Day.

That's compared to an average of 46% of students meeting their offers before the pandemic.

This wave of successful applicants have left many universities unable to cope with the sudden increase in admission, with many now being unable to offer every student a secure place on their selected course or in the university's student accommodation. 


Which courses are most affected?

A little unsurprisingly, medicine and dentistry courses have become especially oversubscribed this year, with the Uk government stepping in and putting a cap of 7500 students on each course. Exeter University has also written to students already holding a firm offer to study medicine this September, offering them a year's worth of free university accommodation and a £10,000 bursary at the end of October 2021 if they'll delay their place until 2022. Just for reference, accommodation in one of the university’s buildings costs around £6,500 for an en-suite room and £7,611 for a studio flat. 

Bristol and Leeds Universities are also offering a similar package to students on their Law and Business courses, with the £10,000 incentive being jointly funded by the government and the universities themselves. While there's no black-and-white list of the universities offering cash for students to defer or transfer their courses, it's being advised that students on oversubscribed courses will be contacted by their university directly.


What about the rest of us?

If you pulled through your studies last year and graduated just shy of the governments new deferral incentives, you might be feeling a little left out. But don't forget that students studying for their A-levels this year also had to deal with unprecedented disruptions in their learning. Although some of them might snap up a few grand to defer for a year, there'll be many others that are still fighting to secure a palace despite having all the right grades, while those that are able to squeeze into the capped courses might struggle to find accommodation.

It's a sheer numbers game that's almost certain to have a knock-on effect for next year's admission cycle, as open courses will be filled up with students that have deferred from this year.