Top universities 'ignoring final A-level grades' in race to sign up students
"Universities such as Lancaster and Birmingham are making record numbers of "unconditional offers" – places awarded irrespective of final A-level grades – in 2015"
"Leading universities have been accused of undermining A-levels by accepting students before they sit their final exams in a “desperate” rush to fill places.
"Research by the Telegraph shows universities are preparing to make increasing numbers of “unconditional offers” to sixth-formers next year.
"Top research institutions including Birmingham, Lancaster, Nottingham, Leicester, Sussex and Queen Mary, University of London, will admit students en masse in some subjects without waiting for results in August.
"Numbers are expected to significantly exceed the 12,000 unconditional offers made across the UK this year, with one university alone saying it will make 10,000 in 2015.
The move coincides with a government decision to abolish all restrictions on student recruitment in England for the first time in 2015 – creating a free market in undergraduate admissions.
"It has led to intense competition between universities to sign up the most talented sixth-formers before they are attracted to opposing institutions.
"In most cases, admissions tutors will make places available to candidates based on past performance in GCSEs and their predicted A-level grades, meaning students will win places even if they go on to fail their summer exams."