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Taking action in higher education

High unconditional offer dropout rate shows need for university admissions reform

New figures showing that students who received unconditional offers are more likely to drop out of university highlight the need for an overhaul of university admissions, the UCU said today.

The union was responding to data published by the Office for Students (OfS) which showed the dropout rate was 10% higher amongst students who received unconditional offers than would have been expected if they had received conditional offers. It called for urgent reform and said universities making unconditional offers were too often focused on the bottom line rather than student interests.

UCU said a move to post-qualification admissions (PQA) would be fairer for students, eradicate the need for unconditional offers and bring the whole of the UK into line with the rest of the world when it comes to university admissions.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Universities scrabbling to attract students with unconditional offers are too often focused on the bottom line rather than student interests. These latest figures show that many students are ill-served by the current admissions system, and that there is a real need for urgent reform.

'A move to post-qualification admissions, where students receive offers after their results, would be much fairer to students. It would eradicate the problems associated with unconditional offers, end the gamble of predicted grades and bring the whole of the UK into line with the rest of the world when it comes to university admissions.'

Last updated: 29 November 2019

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