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Students urged to look beyond freebies and gimmicks as they prepare for results day

15 August 2016

Students receiving their A-level results this week are being urged to check out how their prospective universities fare when it comes to equal pay, and whether their lecturers might be on Sports Direct-style zero-hours contracts. UCU is targeting them via Facebook adverts in the build up to Thursday's results day.

The adverts take students to a website which tells them how much more male academics earn, on average, compared to female academics at the institution. It also shows what percentage of teaching staff are on casual contracts, which can include controversial zero-hours contracts.

On average, female academics are paid £6,103 less a year than their male counterparts, while 49% of university teachers are on casual contracts.

A drop in the number of 18-year-olds and uncertainties over the Brexit fallout have been cited as reasons for universities to turn to free iPads, discounted second degrees and even Tinder to try and entice students. However, UCU says it wants students to better research what they can expect from their institution.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'There have been some unusual pitches to students to fill places this year, but we hope they will look beyond the freebies and gimmicks and spend time properly researching their options.

'Deciding whether or not to study, and where, are life-altering decisions and universities must not put undue pressure on students. Students are in a strong position this year and should not be rushed into a decision.'