Students wait for university places
Tens of thousands of students are still waiting to hear if they have secured a university place, latest figures have shown.
Around 30,000 fewer students have had their places confirmed, compared to the same point last year, according to the latest Ucas figures.
The update comes the day after students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A-level results.
It reveals that 79,627 people are still waiting on decisions, up from 78,141 at this point last year. Some 367,369 people who were holding offers have now been accepted by universities after meeting the entry requirements. This is down from 398,206 people who had secured their spot by the same point last year - a drop of 30,837.
A further 4,166 students have gained places through clearing - the process that matches students who are not holding offers, or who have missed their grades to vacant courses. This is up slightly, by this point in 2011 3,692 people had found places through clearing. And 138 students have been offered places through "adjustment" - around double the 59 applicants who had found places this way last year.
Adjustment allows students who have done better than expected in their exams to "trade up" to a different course or university. In total, 170,198 people are eligible for clearing, a fall from 195,415 applicants who could enter the process in 2011.
Cathy Gilbert, Ucas director of customer strategy, said it was too early to say if the new system was having an effect on teenagers getting their first choice university or on clearing. "We haven't seen that starting to have an effect," she said.
Students using the Ucas system on Thursday faced technical delays which meant some could not see if their university places had been confirmed. Late on Thursday afternoon, after concerns were raised that students were facing problems, Ucas insisted that its system, known as Track, "is fully functioning and has been all day". It said work to refresh technical support to universities had meant that a "very small" number of decisions took slightly longer to show on the screens.
On Friday, a Ucas spokesman said: "Systems were extremely busy yesterday and caused some slow running during the day. Universities and colleges were unable to process decisions for around three hours in the afternoon and for a short period in the evening. There were two separate systems issues at play and both were resolved.
"This did cause some regrettable disruption for admission offices and some applicants couldn't check updates on their status following verbal offers. We were able to process data coming to us from the universities and colleges during the evening and overnight and started the day today up-to-date in terms of showing decisions and vacancies. We do anticipate another busy day today. Systems have been running well since yesterday evening and are fully operational."