Unconditional offers ‘undermine credibility’ of higher education, universities minister warns

The Telegraph is reporting that universities which hand out soaring numbers of unconditional offers are “undermining the credibility of higher education”, the universities minister has warned.

Fierce competition between universities to attract students has seen sixth form pupils increasingly offered places regardless of their exam results.

Since 2013, the number of unconditional places handed out to school leavers has surged from 2,985 to 67,915, up by more than 2,100 per cent.

In the past year alone, there has been a 32 per cent rise, according to new figures released by Ucas, the university admissions service.

Sam Gyimah, the universities minister said “Places at universities should only be offered to those who will benefit from them, and giving out unconditional offers just to put ‘bums on seats’ undermines the credibility of the university system” 

“Unconditional offers risk distracting students from the final year of their schooling, and swaying their decisions does them a disservice – universities must act in the interest of students, not in filling spaces.”

In 2018, the number increased to 58,385, meaning more than a fifth (22.9 per cent) of school leavers received at least one unconditional offer.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of University and College Union (UCU), said: “The proliferation of unconditional offers is detrimental to the interests of students and it is time the UK joined the rest of the world in basing university offers on actual achievements instead on guesswork.”

Read more Unconditional offers ‘undermine credibility’ of higher education, universities minister warns

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