Places of interest

September 11, 1998

Your story, "Adults pass up university places" (THES, September 4) did not compare like with like. Both you and the National Union of Students observed from the figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service on September 2 that the number of over-25s accepting places for 1998-99 had fallen by 33 per cent below the number accepted last year. You also pointed to a 30 per cent fall for 21 to 24-year-olds, with under-21s down 12.5 per cent.

You concluded that they are significantly worse than application figures that UCAS had released before the examination results in August.

Our figures showed a comparison of acceptances on September 2 with the final position last year, in mid-October. There are still some weeks of clearing to go and many more students will be accepted.

Indeed, the same set of figures from which you and the NUS drew such conclusions showed a slight increase in the number of acceptances this year over last year on the same date.

Tony Higgins Chief executive, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

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