THOUSANDS could miss out on university places after the number of applications rose again this year.
New figures show there are more than seven students chasing every place at Durham University, while Sunderland has seen applications rise by almost a quarter.
According to applications organisation Ucas, the number from the UK and abroad was 669,956 this year, a rise of 1.4 per cent on 2010, which itself saw an 11.6 per cent rise in applications.
Professor Les Ebdon, chairman of the university think-tank million+ said: "Despite there being fewer 18 year olds in the population, 2011 will be another record year.
"Studying at university is the best career move that people can make, and students should be flexible about what they want to study and not panic as there will be places available in clearing.
"However, the Government is at risk of missing a trick and should have provided the funding to ensure that no one who is qualified misses out on a university place this year.
“This would have been an ideal time to ensure that universities could meet demand, because youth unemployment is high and older workers are having to take part-time jobs."
Last August Ucas said 432,524 applicants had been accepted for university places, including through clearing.
This potentially means tens of thousands of students will miss out this year, if a similar number of spaces are available.
A spokeswoman for the Sunderland University said: “Our application figure, like most universities, is up by 23 per cent this year.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure as many people as possible who have applied to us are offered a place.
“However, given the restrictions placed on us by Government there will be some people who will be disappointed.
“We wish that wasn’t the case.”
Durham has seen only a slight rise in applications, but is already massively over-subscribed.
As of July 1, the university had received 24,364 applications, up from 24,341 – with just 3,381 undergraduate slots available.
AN academic has scooped an internationally recognised accolade.
Durham University Professor Stuart Elden won the Royal Geographic Society’s Murchison Award for publications.
The 39-year-old was presented with it by Michael Palin, at a ceremony at the society’s headquarters in kensington, London.
The Monty Python star said: “Stuart is one of the world leading scholars working at the intersection of political theory and political geography.
“His 2009 book, Terror and territory: the spatial extent of sovereignty, for which he is recognised here contests the idea that in the era of globalisation, territory no longer matters.
“Terror and territory takes political geography in directions the field has rarely gone before.
“It is of tremendous intellectual significance, highly deserving of recognition by the Murchison Award.”