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Introduce a better system to eliminate unconditional university offers, says UCU

2 July 2020

Union says it is time for a fairer university admissions system to bring the whole of the UK in line with the rest of the world and eliminate the need for controversial unconditional offers

Responding to news that the Office for Students (OfS) wants to scrap so-called 'conditional unconditional offers' - where an offer becomes unconditional if a student puts the institution as their first choice - UCU said allowing applicants to apply after they received their results would be better for students and remove the gamble of predicted grades.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Universities scrabbling to attract students with unconditional or even conditional unconditional offers are too often focused on the bottom line, rather than what is best for students. These controversial offers have highlighted the failings with our system where students apply to university before they receive their results.

'It is time we joined the rest of the world and moved to post-qualification admissions system, where students receive offers after their results. It would eradicate the problems associated with unconditional offers, end the gamble of predicted grades and be much fairer for students.'

A survey of recent university applicants earlier this year found that over half (56%) felt universities should only make offers after students receive their results. Support for students applying after they get their results was highest amongst traditionally hard to reach groups such as black and minority ethnic students, and those who were the first in their family to go to university.

Research released by the OfS in October found that the dropout rate was 10 per cent higher for students who accepted unconditional offers than would have been expected if they had accepted conditional offers. 

Last updated: 3 July 2020