In response to a surge in applications to study medicine and uncertainty surrounding grade inflation, the University of Exeter, a Russell Group university, is offering medical students the opportunity to defer their studies for a year in exchange for incentives. With a cap on student numbers, the university has reached out to accepted medical candidates to delay their start date until 2022. Those who agree will be guaranteed a place if they achieve the required grades, as well as a cash bursary of £10,000 and free accommodation, which could be worth up to £7,600. According to Prof Mark Goodwin, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, there has been a substantial increase in the number of students who have chosen Exeter as their first pick for medicine, which is why the university is offering various incentives to motivate them to defer their studies. He added that the government regulates all medicine student numbers to ensure that everyone receives quality education, and to provide students with safe and secure NHS placements. Amid a record number of university applications, up 10% among UK 18-year-olds, it is essential to regulate the number of places available to study medicine. However, due to the increase in applications this year, along with the closure of many exam centres and the use of teacher-assessed grades, it has become more of a challenge to determine the correct number of places to offer each applicant. Dr Katie Petty Saphon from the Medical Schools Council told the BBC that in the past, the most excellent candidates would receive up to four offers before deciding on a specific institution, freeing up places offered to them: however, this year, that hasn’t been happening.