Leeds University’s vice chancellor said a nationwide slump in applications has left it with an unprecedented number of places going unfilled on degree courses.
A survey by the Evening Post has revealed universities across Yorkshire had more than 1,800 places left after the clearing process last summer.
Leeds University had 540 places unfilled while at Leeds Metropolitan the figure was 141 - although this has since fallen to 123 after students started at the university this month.
Leeds Trinity, which became a university last month, filled all its courses in 2012.
Professor Michael Arthur, Leeds’ vice chancellor warned that Government reforms had created “unnecessary turbulence” and made it more difficult for top universities to recruit.
Last September saw a massive overhaul of the way in which universities were financed and recruited students with fees being almost trebled to up to £9,000-a-year.
The Government also changed the rules for student recruitment. In previous years all universities were given a capped limit on the number of students they could take on.
This academic year every university in the country had the quota of the number of students they were allowed to recruit cut but they were given the freedom to take on an unlimited number of students who achieved two As and a B or better at A-level.
The reforms were aimed at preventing universities having to turn away top students because they were already full.
Prof Arthur said the scheme had been undermined by the number of top grades at A-level dropping last summer, and added: “It was thought Russell Group universities would recruit more students but, of course, if there are far fewer AAB students in the system then it means we ended up recruiting less.”
He said the university could have filled the places if it had been prepared to lower its entry requirements but it was not willing to do so. Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you