Desperate unis will let ‘anyone’ in amid scramble to fill places
Unis will accept lower grades than ever in a bid to fill places
Standards at Britain’s top unis are slipping as they splash the cash to attract students who never would have got in previously.
Uni sources admitted they’re dropping their grade offers to unprecedented depths and will offer free iPads, gym memberships and discounted rents to attract students.
Russell Group institutions like Nottingham, Manchester, York and Warwick will open their doors to woo teenagers after the government relaxed rules on clearing.
Empty places on courses from Medicine to Law will be filled by people who are still really clever.
The limit on undergraduate numbers has been raised by 30,000. Next year there will likely be no limit and unis will be able to offer places to pretty much anyone.
Mary Curnock Cook, head of UCAS, told The Sunday Times: “Universities will be recruiting right across the spectrum. There will be lots of vacancies in nearly all degree subjects.
“People with decent A-level results will be hugely in demand. Youngsters will be in a stronger position than they realise, certainly stronger than their brothers and sisters who applied three or four years ago.”
However top unis are concerned there will be “more students with fewer and lower quality qualifications will be allowed to enter higher education”. Internal minutes from the University of Exeter warned unless there was some quality control, unis will be “making up the numbers by accepting anyone”.
Last year, 13 Russell Group unis lowered the bar for those entering through clearing – with 7,000 intellectuals gaining places.
Curnock Cook said students should not fear the commitment of uni.
She added: “It’s worth making the leap. A lot of young people have a wobble. It is a big financial commitment. It is nerve-racking, that first week.
“But a degree is worth doing. It is a fantastic three years of self-definition, talent incubation, self-motivation. Young people develop a real sense of independence. They will meet, at university, people from different backgrounds and cities and interests.
“It’s good for young people to cut the ties with home, but in a safe environment with other young people. Living on campus is a great experience.”
With the lapse in rules, unis are pouncing on the opportunity to expand their facilities. Swansea uni are set building an entirely new 65 acre campus – costing £450m.
Liverpool are set to open more than 1,200 new beds near the library and sports centre after a £230m investment.
The news comes after a report released today says more privileged students are likely to earn a place at a top uni.
Students from poor families and ten times less likely to be accepted at one of the 13 most selective establishments.
The Independent Commission on Fees report also said the gender gap is growing with more women entering higher education than men.
It said: “The gap in application and entry rates between advantaged and disadvantaged students has narrowed slightly but remains unacceptably large – particularly for the most selective unis.”
These findings reflected the effect on the increase in fees – rising from £3,600 to £9,000 in 2012.