Under plans to be outlined by the Government, students who fail to achieve their predicted A-level grades will have their university places held open for them while they appeal.
With students having received grades that are largely based on statistical modelling, as well as their schools historic grades, this raises the prospect of students losing out on university places if they are given incorrect grades. However students may still lose out on their first choice institution even if they are later awarded the correct mark on appeal if their place has been reallocated by the time they get the result of their challenge.
In a letter to vice-chancellors, Michelle Donelan the Minister of State for Universities, said universities should set aside space on undergraduate courses for teenagers who are appealing against their grades and have missed their offers. “We expect the vast majority of grades to be accurate, but it is essential that we have this safety net for young people who may otherwise be held back from moving on to their chosen route.” She further commented, “Where you are aware that a student’s grade may change as the result of an appeal, I would encourage you, where possible, to hold their place until they receive the result of that appeal.”
It is the first time that the Government has intervened in the row over grading this summer and, in an attempt to prevent institutions from aggressively poaching students from their rivals, the Government has also imposed student “number controls” on universities this year. Universities have predicted that due to the coronavirus overseas students, who pay higher tuition fees, may stay away this year leaving a financial black hole and a number of empty spaces.
Ms Donelan told vice-chancellors that any students who are given places following a successful appeal will not count towards their chosen institution’s place limit. This means universities will be able to fill their allotted places with students who have met their offers and then take on more who have been marked up after appeal.