Government to shake up allocation of undergraduate places

The University may be forced to compete for over half of its undergraduate intake from 2012 under government plans

The goverment plans to lift the cap on University places for any student with A-Level results of AAB+. Image credit: Julien

The goverment plans to lift the cap on University places for any student with A-Level results of AAB+. Image credit: Julien

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.”


  1. 27 Jul ’11 at 4:54 pm

    Oliver Blackburn

    Christ, endorse the policy more why don’t you. What about the other side to the argument eh?

    Given the University can barely manage its accommodation when they have a good idea of the number of students coming who do you think they will fare under this system?
    Do you know if the university will attempt to recruit as many AAB+ students as it can get as part of its more to expand rapidly? Any idea how departments will cope with the influx of additional students if so?


  2. Yay, even more government policy geared towards people with good grades instead of good ability. Seriously, we know that there are some subjects that get a much greater percentage of As, and this doesn’t take it into account – so we’ll see even more people at GCSE picking the easy option at a-levels just to get into better universities.


    Rant over… for now… Pathetic policy, though I don’t dislike the general concept of encouraging the competition. But this will have so many negative side effects that it’s just silly.


  3. 23 Aug ’11 at 10:54 pm

    Well Informed

    @Oliver Blackburn

    Your comments are ill-informed. The University manages to balance its intake with the available number of rooms remarkably well. If you research other Universities you’ll find the situation at York is pretty good. Too many empty rooms would either lead in a reduction in services or bump the price for everyone else. Too many students would mean not enough rooms and many disgruntled students living off campus?

    This is the Real World.


  4. 24 Aug ’11 at 12:18 pm

    Well informed?

    Though the uni has had an accommodation crisis every year for the past 5 has it not? Freshers living off campus, bunking down in dining halls/jcrs for a night or two, living in twin accommodation (which is really just a slightly larger room), the uni having to rent houses off campus, and as for being a new graduate student – no chance if you’re home or EU. A recent post on York extra was even asking if any staff had or knew of spare rooms for the coming year.