Aber launches new “Clearing Bursary” after applications fall

ABERYSTWYTH University have launched a new ”Clearing Bursary” aimed at attracting prospective students who fail to get a place at their first or insurance choice university this August.

The scheme promises students who opt for Aberystwyth during clearing up to £450 of benefits “in kind”, including a discount on accommodation fees, vouchers for the Arts Centre, Sports Centre membership and credit for the Aber Card, used in the University’s eating outlets.

The move comes after the accommodation crisis that hit first years last September, when new students were forced to share bunk rooms, amidst record numbers of students who met the terms of their offer. Last year, so many students were predicted to achieve the required results that the University didn’t offer any places through the clearing system.

It has been suggested that the University are pushing see all their places filled for the coming academic year, as every student will be paying £9,000 per year from September 2012. But under the complicated web of rules that govern university funding, the Welsh government could fine the University if they admit more students than they are allowed under a series of quota systems – which nearly after happened last year’s mass over-admission.

The University state that the Bursary is being funded though fee income, which suggests that they are confident that the income from additional students will outweigh the costs incurred, including any repeat of last year’s fines.

A spokesperson for the University said that bursaries were “an important part of our conversion strategy”, and that the new bursary was being made available for late entrants “since they would not be eligible for other bursaries which are linked to earlier parts of the admissions cycle”. He added: “It is a fair admissions issue.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested that the University were fined last year for admitting more students than permitted. Although this is the normal practice in the case of over-admission and the University expected to be fined, no fine was in fact levied.