Want £10,000 pocket change and free accommodation at university? You’ll have to defer your entry to get it.
Some universities are offering this deal due to over-booked places – the educational equivalent of pocketing £200 to catch a later flight at the airport.
After the pandemic saw A-levels exams cancelled for a second year, students were given teacher-assessed grades. This has led to grade inflation with more students getting top marks, which means they also managed to get into the universities of their choice.
But logistically, there isn’t enough accommodation space and classes may be over subscribed. So universities are coming up with enticing offers to encourage students to defer to subsequent years.
According to the BBC, the University of Leeds is offering £10,00 and free living arrangements to students who agree to come back next year.
Meanwhile, Exeter University has had too many medical students winning a place and is also offering a financial sweetener to stagger student entry, according to The Guardian.
The university wrote to candidates who had met their offer to study medicine, asking if they would consider delaying their studies to 2022.
Those who say yes will also be given free boarding (worth £7,600) and a cash bursary of £10,000 to “spend on preparing yourself”.
Medicine and dentistry students especially are being targeted as many hold firm offers from universities.
After results day this week, 8,600 students held offers to study medicine and dentistry, which is up from 23% from 2020, according to UCAS.
The Medical Schools Council (MSC), which represents 44 heads of medical schools across the UK, is helping the government with a ‘brokerage programme’ to offer money to anyone who changes med schools.
Under the Department of Education scheme, students holding offers to over-subscribed schools will receive an ‘inconvenience’ fee of £10,000 if they move schools.
MSC released a statement on Tuesday, saying: “Medical schools are committed to maintaining high standards of education and training and are working with the government to ensure applicants who have successfully achieved their offer to study medicine are able to take up their place at medical school.”
A limiting factor to the expansion of medical school places is the availability of clinical placement opportunities throughout all years of the course, they said.
“Currently, the sites where high-quality clinical placements are available, together with the facilities required to support medical education, are not exactly aligned with oversubscribed medical schools.”
If you’re considering taking up the offer, get in touch with your university (and enjoy that sweet cash).
This article was amended on August 12 to remove a reference to a deferral incentive at Durham University that is not being offered.