Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:39 UK

Place mix-up university 'sorry'


The university apologised for the problems in its admissions process

A Devon university has apologised after it mistakenly told 190 students they had won a place.

The candidates, who missed out on the grades they needed for a place at the University of Exeter, were relieved to hear they had been accepted.

But letters confirming their places were sent out prematurely and they were pushed off the list by better-qualified students.

The 190 students have been guaranteed a place next year.

However, several are expected to take up their second-choice offers this year.

We will be looking very closely at what went wrong
Professor Janice Kay, University of Exeter

Deputy vice chancellor Professor Janice Kay said: "We are sorry that problems in our admissions process have caused uncertainty for some applicants.

"We made every possible effort to inform applicants as to the correct position as soon as we were aware of the problems which had occurred.

"We will be looking very closely at what went wrong this year, but for the moment our focus is on informing and helping those students who have been affected.

Professor Kay said admission to university was a competitive process, with the government setting the number of undergraduate students to be admitted.

"Universities also have to control staff/student ratios so as to protect teaching quality," she said.

Wrong location

The university admissions service Ucas had published the correct information on its tracking system.

Jenny Cheetham, 18, of Camberley, Surrey, said she was contemplating a year out after the confusion.

The Farnborough Sixth Form College pupil reportedly missed her A-level target of AAB by one grade and so was delighted to be accepted.

Some time hours later she saw an email from Ucas telling her to check her offer status online.

She said she was shocked to find her Exeter bid had been unsuccessful.

Ms Cheetham said she is worried about missing out as a late entrant in the competitive clearing market which allocates remaining university places, so is considering Exeter's offer of a place in 2010.

In another mishap, the university told an extra 188 sixth-formers they had places at the Exeter campus, when in fact their spots were at the Cornwall campus, nearly 100 miles away.

The following day it agreed to honour the original Exeter-based places.

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