In an article in Times Higher Education (THE) Libby Hackett, director of the University Alliance said the unexpected hit was bad for student choice as many of the institutions affected were performing strongly on applications.
“You are looking at universities that have held up very strong demand per place or have increased applications and at the same time they are seeing a significant drop in places of up to 14 per cent in just one year,” she said.
“Overall, the places being taken out of the system in 2012-13 or transferred to further education means there will be about 25,000 fewer young people able to go to university compared with this year. With growing demand for graduates in our economy and massive youth unemployment, this seems nonsensical.”
The Alliance wrote to government ministers late last year suggesting “fairer” ways to apply the margin to avoid a “false divide” in the sector, but a decision on the future of the policy, as well as the AAB plan, has been delayed.
“We urgently need a decision on core and margin for 2013-14 that reflects student demand and to enable universities and other higher education providers to undertake essential planning decisions as well-run, efficient businesses,” Ms Hackett added.