Government plans to deny student loans to students with poor A-level results
This comes as an effort to minimise students taking up places at university to which they are not suited to
Government plans to overhaul university funding may include proposals to make student loans less available to students with poor A-level results.
Ministers are considering an effort to minimise students taking up places at university to which they are not suited to, risking the imposition of minimum entry requirements for universities.
This follows the recommendation by the Department for Education to cap tuition fees at £7,500, as a result of an official review of higher education, known as the Augar review.
The Augar review determined: “Low prior attainment, measured by A-level and BTEC grades, is associated with dropping out from university studies, to the financial and often emotional cost of the student.”
Refusing student loans to anyone with A-level and BTEC grades under a certain threshold would mean that students could only take up a place at university if they are in a position to finance it themselves.
The president of Universities UK, Professor Julia Buckingham, told The Telegraph that this plan would “prevent students from disadvantaged backgrounds whose prior education experiences have adversely affected their grades from attending university and ignoring the evidence that many of these students excel at university.”
Students have expressed their frustration and concerns over the governments plans, sharing their personal success stories after performing poorly in their A-levels.
One student tweeted: “I failed my A-levels because of mental health but a uni gave me a chance. I’m going to start my Master’s degree next year. Without a student loan, I’d have had no chance. People don’t realise that people fail their A-levels for all different reasons.”
in 2014 i failed my A levels – my teacher told me a way to move out and escape my chaotic home-life would be uni. i was accepted on a fine art degree – they saw my art and gave me a chance. i relied on student loan. i now have an MA and i’m exhibiting internationally this year
— 👽 (@ollyartist) January 24, 2021
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson additionally told the House of Commons that he vows to increase funding for “strategic” subjects including medicine and engineering and “slash” taxpayer funding for courses such as media studies.
Williamson said: “Our proposed reform to the teaching grant for the academic year 2021-22 will allocate funding to deliver value for money for students and the tax payer”.
Williamson confirmed that “non-strategic” degrees including performing arts, music, dance, drama and archaeology will have their funding cut by 50 per cent.
These courses are categorised as “high-cost”, relying on extra funding from the government through a teaching grant, which is distributed among universities.