Universities slammed over allocation of places

5 Apr 19

Universities have been accused of “pressure-selling tactics” to make students accept offers, the education secretary has said.

Damian Hinds has called for a review of university admission practices after the extent of “conditional unconditional” offers was revealed by UCAS, the university admissions charity.

These offers inform students that they have a guaranteed place – but only if they make the university their first choice.

Hinds will write to 23 universities in England using the recruitment technique to say they are “backing students into a corner”.

He said: “It is simply unacceptable for universities to adopt pressure-selling tactics, which are harming students’ grades in order to fill places. It is not what I expect to see from our world-class higher education institutions.

“‘Conditional unconditional’ offers are damaging the reputation of the institutions involved and our world-leading sector as a whole.

“That is why I will be writing to 23 universities, urging them to stamp out this unethical practice.”

Hinds noted that he is concerned about the “wider picture” of methods employed by universities to attract students and will ask the Office for Students to looks at how current admissions practices are affecting young people.

Separately, the DfE has allocated £800m for local authorities to improve and maintain condition of schools.

Larger multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors will also have access to the funds, which come from a wider £1.4bn investment.

Hinds said: “Schools are much more than just buildings; they are the centres of communities, they are where children learn skills for the rest of their lives, and they are safe havens. That’s why it’s vital they are in the best possible condition.

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