MUMBAI: Vacancies across the IITs have touched a four-year high. A total of 121 spots went unfilled despite seven rounds of admission.

The 23 IITs have a total of 10,962 seats and 121 of them remained vacant after completion of the counselling for admission. The number of vacant seats was 96 last year, 50 in 2015 and three in 2014.

IIT-BHU, Varanasi had the maximum number of empty seats - 32 - followed by IIT-Dhanbad (Indian School of Mines) with 23 vacancies, IIT-Jammu (13) and IIT-Kharagpur (9).

Last year too, the trend was similar with IIT-Varanasi having the highest unfilled seats (38), and IIT-Dhanbad also having 23 vacancies in 2016.

Over the last four years, all seats were snapped up at IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Hyderabad. Joining them this year is IIT-Jodhpur which also does not have any unfilled seats. Last year, merely one seat was vacant at IIT Jodhpur. In 2017, a seat each is vacant at IIT-Bombay, IIT-Madras, IIT-Palakkad, IIT-Ropar and IIT-Goa.

Until a few years ago, IITs did not conduct a second round of admissions and unfilled seats used to be transferred to the preparatory programme, a bridge course to bring quota students up to the mark. In 2008, TOI had campaigned that IITs conduct multiple rounds of admission to fill up colleges' capacity. It was after this that IITs started conducting second round of admissions, and as a result the number of vacancies fell since 2009.

This year, the last round of counselling was held on July 19. All the IITs completed admissions by July 25. An IIT Council official said the institutes had been asked to discontinue some of the courses that were not attracting students. The IIT Joint Admission Board is likely to meet soon to discuss such courses and take a decision on steps to bring down the number of vacancies. The IITs, especially the new ones, increased their intake by 400 seats this year.