Some 364,380 UK students have found places on university degree courses, a day after A-level results came out.
A record 17,420 of these found their places through the clearing service, which matches candidates with places once the results are in, the University and College Admissions Service said. Some 29.8% of all 18-year-olds have been accepted on to courses - another record for this point in the year.
Despite record numbers of applicants to UK universities this year, fewer students were placed on courses as the results were released on Thursday. This reflects the shift towards students seeking university places once they have their grades, with leading universities now offering places in clearing.
Some 2,260 more candidates found their places via clearing this year than last year. It comes just days after renewed calls were made by Labour for a change in the university application system to one based on results rather than predictions.
On Thursday morning, a total of 408,960 people, from the UK and overseas, had had places confirmed, down 1% on the same point last year, according to Ucas.
While overall acceptances have fallen, a breakdown shows that record numbers of international students are snapping up places. In total, 34,390 students from outside the EU have found places so far, Ucas said, driven by a rise from China. There has been a small increase in the number of EU students accepted, with 26,930 confirmed so far.
Ucas has also flagged up higher rates of disadvantaged pupils receiving university places. Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: "The record proportions of disadvantaged students off to university, combined with the highest number of international students we've seen accepted at this point, is testament to students' hard work and the attraction of our world-class universities and colleges."