Government announces plans to allow universities to admit an unlimited number of ABB students
The Government has announced that universities will be allowed to admit an unlimited amount of students who achieve ABB in their A Levels.
Currently, there is no limit on the number of students universities accept who achieve AAB, but from 2013 this is set to change, in a move government ministers hope will give more students the chance to go to their chosen university.
Universities UK, a group which represents universities across the country, has called for a period of stability before more changes are introduced due to the introduction of increased tuition fees from September this year. The group has also said it is vital that the changes do not end up reducing the overall number of students attending university.
Whilst the group has praised the opportunity for more students to attend their chosen university, Nicole Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK said: “It is essential that these changes are financially sustainable and do not end up reducing overall student numbers in the sector.”
Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, has also raised concerns. She said: “It seems very premature for the government to extend its AAB policy when we have yet to see the impact of it. This looks like the triumph of ideology over evidence based policy-making.”
In spite of the criticism, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said the reforms would put “choice and power in the hands of students.”
He added: “We are rolling back the controls on places at individual universities that have been a barrier to competition. Students will gain as universities attract them by offering a high-quality academic experience.”
The changes have received a mixed reaction from university leaders. However, both the Russell Group, of which Newcastle is a member, and University Alliance which counts Northumbria amongst its members, have welcomed the lifting of restrictions on student numbers.
More changes are being made to higher education policy. As reported in The Courier earlier this year, universities planning to charge more than £7,500 were stripped of 20,000 places for students who achieved less than AAB. Universities charging less than this amount were then able to bid for the extra places. This process will happen again in 2013, with 5,000 extra places available to universities charging less than £8,250.