Med students to be offered £10,000 to attend 'undersubscribed' schools

£10,000 to switch your medical school: Over-subscribed universities offer applicants cash to change colleges amid scramble for top places

  • Medical students to be offered cash in bid to avoid scramble at 11 universities 
  • Those moving from oversubscribed schools will net £10,000 for ‘inconvenience’ 
  • Medical Schools Council and Department for Education set up the radical programme after unprecedented pressure for places at top UK universities

Medical students are to be offered £10,000 to switch schools amid a scramble for top university places.

After a record proportion of top A-level grades yesterday, many more applicants than usual met the terms of an offer to study – leaving many medical schools oversubscribed.

Now, the Medical Schools Council (MSC) and the Department for Education (DfE) are setting up a radical programme to ease the places squeeze. 

Under the scheme, students who move from an oversubscribed school to an undersubscribed one will receive £10,000 ‘for the inconvenience’.

The Government is expected to stump up most of the cash, rather than the institutions.

Medical students moving from an oversubscribed university to an undersubscribed one will receive £10,000 for ‘inconvenience’. Pictured: Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on A-Level results day 2021

The move is expected to affect about a third of England’s 33 medical schools. It comes after a record number of students were accepted on to UK degree courses.

So-called ‘higher tariff’ institutions saw a 14 per cent increase in the number of places given – up from 142,720 in 2020 to 163,100.

But universities with less competition for places, which usually attract undergraduates through clearing, saw a fractional decrease in students accepting offers.

For medical courses, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) figures show that 28,690 students applied this year – a rise of 21 per cent on last year.

Yesterday, it was announced that 8,560 students from England had been accepted – up 23 per cent on results day last year.

Unlike other degrees, the number of places on medicine and dentistry courses is capped to ensure standards are maintained.

Last week the DfE announced an extra 9,000 places would be made available but many schools are still oversubscribed.

For medical courses, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) figures show that 28,690 students applied this year – a rise of 21 per cent on last year.

In a statement yesterday, the MSC said: ‘Medical schools are committed to maintaining high standards of education and training.

‘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 schools.

‘For this reason medical schools have jointly agreed to support a brokerage programme so that applicants who have met the conditions of their offers at oversubscribed medical schools will be given the opportunity to move to different medical schools.’

Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: ‘In an unprecedented year, both for students and the NHS, it is important that we as a Government look for solutions, which is why we are supporting students who choose to take up the option to move to other providers.

‘We want to make sure as many people as possible who have met their grades can take up a place this year if they want to.’

Overall, Ucas figures show a record 435,430 students have already had places confirmed on UK degree courses, up 5 per cent on last year.

Among UK applicants, 388,230 have been accepted – 8 per cent up on results day last year.

A record 395,770 students have also been accepted on to their first choice of full-time course, up 8 per cent from 365,500 in 2020.

Ucas data shows that 245,330 British 18-year-olds have been accepted on to degree courses, up 17 per cent on the same point last year.

More than a third (34 per cent) of these have taken up their places, up from 30 per cent in 2020.

The data also shows a record 20.7 per cent of British 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds already have an undergraduate place. 

However, as yet there has been no progress in closing the gap with students from the most advantaged areas, 48.4 per cent of whom have accepted places. 

Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said: ‘After around a decade of widening participation progress, albeit slow, it is disappointing to see it stall, though this should be seen in light of record numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds being accepted.’

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