Offer deferrals rose by over 60% in 2020


A Freedom of Information request by Palatinate has revealed that the proportion of undergraduate offers for 2020 entry which were then deferred was over 60% higher than in the previous year.

The data refers to applicants who received offers to begin their studies in 2020, and then had their offers deferred so that they would start the following year. 1.8% of offer holders had their offers deferred, compared to 1.1% in the previous year and between 1.0% and 1.2% for the three years prior to that.

To place that in context, in 2018-19, the last year for which data is available, Durham received over 20,000 applicants for study at undergraduate level, of which almost 72% received an offer. Less than 17% of the total applications led to a “registration”, which indicates that they began their studies at Durham.

For international students applying for undergraduate study, the relative increase was larger because fewer international students typically defer their offers. Around 1.4% of international students applying in 2019/20 had offers for 2020 entry deferred, compared to 0.4% in the two previous years.

The University does not hold data on how many students requested to defer their offers. For postgraduate students, deferrals in 2019/20 were over 70% higher than in 2018/19, with more than 10% of offer holders deferring their applications, compared to 6% in the previous year. Postgraduate applicants can defer only their application, not their offer, which means they are then reconsidered for an offer in competition with the other applicants in the cycle they have deferred to.

Among international postgraduate students, 11.5% deferred their offers compared to 6.4% in the previous year. Applicants for 2021 entry are permitted to request to defer an offer, not just an application, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aubrey Stoll via Flickr

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