E-learning may be the best way to earn a degree for a large number of students who failed to secure places at the universities they applied for.
Sally Hunt, general secretary at the University College Union, observed that the statistics were indicative of the economic situation.
"After the government axed the education maintenance … [the] figures are a reminder of the rationing of opportunity at higher education level as well," she said.
Gathered by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the figures show that 210,000 potential students had their requests denied.
This is the equivalent of nearly one person in three being unsuccessful, an increase from 2009 when it was just one in four.
In contrast to the UK, Irish students saw a six per cent rise in acceptance rates.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Georgetown University is using distance learning and real-time technology to create extra seats in classes.