The University may be forced to compete for over half of its undergraduate intake from 2012 under new government plans.
New proposals could see universities being forced to compete directly for the places of students who have achieved AAB or higher at A-Level (AAB+); and data from 2009/10 shows that 53 per cent of first-year home students at York had secured these grades.
Students who gained AAB+ would not be counted in the allocation of places that the government enforces upon institutions, enabling universities to recruit as many or as few as they can.
This proposed change could see York gain or lose students depending on the competitiveness of the University in a more market-based higher education system. This would place increased pressure on the University to give the highest quality of teaching and facilities to its students in order to attract the highest calibre.
Figures from the Higher Education Funding Council show that just over half of York’s known grade entry intake from the UK achieved these grades in 09/10 – ranking York 15th in the country just behind the universities of Southampton and Nottingham.
However, the number of EU students at York with grades of AAB+ was considerably higher, at 87 per cent, compared to Nottingham with only 65 per cent.
In response to the proposed increased competition for student places, a spokesman for the University stated: “We recognise that the new funding arrangements, and the government’s proposals for more able students, bring new challenges but we have a strong position and are ready to meet them.”
But by removing these students from the cap on numbers at institutions, it gives the opportunity for all universities to try and recruit as many AAB+ students as they want, altering the balance of favour towards students rather than universities.
However, the University has said that no plans have been finalised yet about how they will compete for these students in 2012. “The proposals for the AAB+ cohort are relatively new and we are currently assessing the implications for York. The proposals are in the consultation stage at the moment and we will need to wait to see the final shape of the scheme before developing detailed strategies.”