Widening Access with Smart Targets
In the UK, universities advertise the degree majors (courses) they offer, and over 700,000 students apply directly to their chosen courses out of over 30,000 courses available. For each of their courses, universities have a target number of students to admit. Some universities also have a target number of disadvantaged students to admit in each course.
Depending on student demand, each university adjusts these course-level targets over a long admissions calendar, and makes offers with the aim of fulfilling its aggregate (ie, university-level) targets. We show that it is possible to reorganise this market with a centralised system which maintains universities' flexibility to optimally adjust their targets. We design a strategy proof mechanism that finds a stable matching in a market where students pursue their most preferred courses and universities aim to meet their targets with the best applicants possible.