8,000 Northern Ireland students still waiting for a place at university
There are still more than 8,000 Northern Ireland students anxiously waiting for a university place.
The day after A-Level results were published on Thursday, 8,420 people had yet to secure a place at a university here or in Britain.
Both Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster have seen an increase in applications as more students opt to study their degrees at home.
By late yesterday the two universities had less than 130 vacancies in total on their heavily oversubscribed courses.
A University of Ulster spokeswoman said: "As of 1.30pm on Friday there were places still available on 50 courses. This is subject to change and for the most up-to-date information visit www. ulster.ac.uk and follow the link to admissions and clearing.
"Generally speaking, if your course is listed this indicates there are spaces available."
A Queen's spokeswoman said: "For a number of reasons the number of places available through clearing is very fluid. Students can view the vacancies available at Queen's at its dedicated clearing and adjustment website: www.qub.ac.uk/sites/new students/clearingandadjustment vacancies/."
According to Ucas – the service used to place students – last night 4,250 Northern Ireland students were eligible for clearing while another 4,170 were holding offers, which usually means that they are awaiting exam results, remarking etc. The good news was that almost 60% of students from here have already secured a university place.
Among those for whom the wait is over are Eoin Murnaghan from Drumragh Integrated College, Omagh; Paul O'Loan from St Killian's College, Carnlough; Sarah McElhinney from Cambridge House Grammar, Ballymena, and Emma McAnea from Down High, Downpatrick.
Of the record 20,300 Ucas applicants, 11,700 students have now been placed – just 30 fewer than the same time last year.
Figures provided by Ucas show that 10,880 people got into their firm choice, indicating they met the grade conditions of their offer; another 700 got into their insurance (second/backup) choice; 50 had been placed through clearing, having not secured high enough grades for their original choices or having applied late, while 10 were placed through adjustment, which usually occurs when someone does better than predicted.
Of all 659,030 students applying through Ucas from UK, Europe and non-EU, 412,170 have been placed, with another 162,430 eligible for clearing.
The head of Ucas, Mary Curnock Cook, advised students that they still have a good chance of a university place through a combination of extra places available and the falling population of 18-year-olds.