Unconditional offers hit record high with universities accused of rushing to put ‘bums on seats’

Last year 37.7 per cent of all 18-year-olds from England, Northern Ireland and Wales received at least one unconditional offer, according to new figures from the university admissions service Ucas. The Telegraph reports.

Fierce competition between universities to attract students has seen the number of school leavers who received at least one unconditional offers surge from 16,300 in 2014 to 97,125 this year.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it is “infuriating” that universities have “apparently responded to calls to end the use of certain types of unconditional offers by making more of them”.

“This practice has more to do with the frenetic scramble to put ‘bums on seats’ than the best interests of students,” Mr Barton said.

A new Ucas analysis, published in their end of cycle report, found that students who have unconditional offer are, on average, 11.5 percentage points more likely to miss their predicted grades by three or more grades than if they had received a conditional offer.

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