News round-up: Lower-tariff universities suffer most as numbers of students accepted for university falls again

Universities dish out cash ‘bribes’ to students with unconditional offers to hit their grades
i newspaper, 17/08/2018, Richard Vaughan

Universities have been accused of dishing out cash “bribes” to students with unconditional offers of places to stop them slacking off before taking A-levels. Institutions are promising the financial incentives, worth up to £3,00, to students amid fierce competition in the sector to fill their courses.


A-levels: proportion of students in England getting C or above falls

The Guardian, 16/08/2018, Richard Adams and Caelainn Barr

The proportion of students in England gaining C grades or above in A-levels fell back this year, driven by a relatively weaker performance among girls, as schools and students continue to grapple with the introduction of new, more intensive exams.


See also: Teenagers make top A-level grades despite course reforms

Financial Times, 16/08/2018, Andrew Jack


A-level results day 2018: UK student acceptances down 2 per cent

Times Higher Education, 16/08/2018, Anna McKie

Lower-tariff universities are bearing the brunt of a fall in acceptances to UK universities in 2018 stemming from a decline in the number of 18-year-olds in the general population, Ucas analysis on A-level results day shows.

Ucas released figures showing that across UK institutions 411,860 students had been placed on an undergraduate course, a 1 per cent decrease on results day last year


Young people ‘more sceptical about value of university’ – poll

The Guardian, 16/08/2018, Richard Adams

Young people are becoming more sceptical about the benefits of going to university, despite a large majority saying they want to carry on to higher education, research suggests.


Oxford plans new college amid postgrad and undergrad growth

Times Higher Education, 16/08/2018, Anna McKie

The University of Oxford is consulting on plans to create a new “graduate college” that could also accommodate a major expansion in postgraduate numbers, as well as on proposals to mount a smaller expansion of undergraduate numbers – reigniting the debate over the institution’s long-standing resistance to more significant growth.


Government accused of ‘total failure’ to widen elite university access

The Guardian, 15/08/2018, Jessica Elgot

Ministers have been accused of a “total and abject failure” to widen access to top universities for disadvantaged students, after analysis by the Labour party found the proportions attending Russell Group universities had increased by only one percentage point since 2010.


UK Master’s fees soar after introduction of postgraduate loans

Times Higher Education, 16/08/2018, Simon Baker

With the future of undergraduate tuition fees in UK universities now in the balance as a major review takes place into post-18 education funding in England, there has at least been some policy stability in the past few years in master’s funding.


University unconditional offers ‘undermine education’

BBC, 14/08/2018, Bethan Lewis

The education system is being undermined by universities making more unconditional offers, according to the head of Wales’ biggest college.

David Jones, of Coleg Cambria, said offers were coming half way through courses and meant many A-level students were taking their “foot off the pedal”.


Durham University abandons attempt to get students out of bed early

The Times, 14/08/2018, Rosemary Bennett


Durham University has learnt the hard way never to come between teenagers and their beds.

The university has been forced to admit defeat in its efforts to drag students from under the duvet to start lectures at 8am. Plans for lectures to begin at this unhappy hour have been cancelled after resistance from undergraduates and their tutors.

In June, The Times reported that law and business studies undergraduates would have 8am lectures scheduled from this autumn to cope with the increase in student numbers. Because the intake on these courses is so large the university was planning to divide the year into two and teach them separately, with one unlucky group starting their work before 9am.


Exam boards launch review as parents exploit mental health loophole to get students extra time

Daily Telegraph, 14/08/2018, Camilla Turner

Exam boards have been told to launch a review following concerns that parents are using mental health to exploit a loophole and get students extra time.

As thousands of pupils prepare to receive their A-level results this Thursday, an exam chief has hit out at the “flawed” system which some are manipula