The following plea arrived in The Diary's in-tray last week. It reads: "I am Charles and need your help in managing a large inheritance that I have just managed to squeeze through. I have at present several hundred thousand student places free but, due to national and international bureaucracy, I am unable to allocate them to best effect. All I ask of you is that you open your hearts. You do not need to send me any money. "These students are clearly waiting urgently to enter the system, but at present I have to keep them in a private deposit account. This is not proving healthy for them. If you wish to help me, I will pray for your department and wish the bounteous benefits of the great funder the Higher Education Funding Council for England upon you for the future. "Please, please send me details of your admissions policies and of your department's bank account. I will then be able to send you tens, scores, even hundreds of students at no cost to me. Indeed, it will probably enable me to reduce the overall funding bill. And in return the great providers at OFUK will shower you with the benefits of variable tuition fees. Prosperity awaits those who can help me in this time of need. Please be generous and help my real distress."