Govt considering capping student numbers from Sept

(33 Posts)
shockthemonkey Mon 30-Mar-20 10:33:53

Has anyone read this?

The article explains that strict limits could be imposed in a bid to alleviate financial black holes caused by international students pulling out as a result of COVID 19. (But I'm not sure how restricting admissions helps financially...)

Any such caps would apparently apply to both UK and EU undergrads.

Quote from article: “Unless there are significant developments, this will happen,” said one policymaker involved in the discussions between the government and universities.

The imposition of a cap means that students currently going through the application process are set to have their choices restricted. It also means some students will not be able to attend universities at which they have been offered places. (end quote)

Worrying to think that students already holding offers may have their right to attend rescinded in some way. Could this be done legally, using force majeure for instance?

Does anyone have more details or more recent info on this?

OP’s posts: |
shockthemonkey Mon 30-Mar-20 10:36:47

OK on closer reading I gather caps would be combined with govt grants to universities and it would help promote financial stability at the sector level, feasibly.

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titchy Mon 30-Mar-20 12:06:04

Contrary to what I have previously said, apparently it is probably legal to withdraw offers, given that grades achieved won't have been awarded in the original basis the offer was made. No HEI would like to be a test case though, and HEIs do generally act in the best interests of applicants and students so I can't see it happening.

The cap on numbers would be to effectively stop a large amount of offers being made unconditional as a response to CV, which would mean those that recruit largely through clearing would be crippled with very few applications, hence trying to moderate the system mid-stream. The RG inevitably don't like it!

But we're in strange times, and the 20/21 recruitment cycle is going to be very precarious indeed.

mumsneedwine Mon 30-Mar-20 12:20:06

My DD had had a couple of reassuring emails from Unis (she's still not firmed). All have said don't worry we still want you, your offer still stands and there will be no extra exams to sit. This is vet med so limited spaces anyway. It's made her feel so much calmer. So thank you lovely Uni admission people, we are v grateful.

shockthemonkey Mon 30-Mar-20 13:03:24

That's great, mums. It really is valuable to have that reassurance when the students' worlds have been turned upside down.

Still no decision on French Bac and therefore hard to guess best strategy for my charges, other than watch and wait. French UCAS applicants could be disadvantaged if the Bac goes ahead in less than ideal circumstances, especially if grades are not adjusted to compensate.

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shockthemonkey Mon 30-Mar-20 13:06:50

.. and thanks titchy. I had wondered about clearing, and am not expecting it to be used by UK applicants this year... for EU students, who knows?

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VivaLeBeaver Mon 30-Mar-20 13:12:26

I’m a uni lecturer and we’ve been told that this will cost our individual uni “millions”. It will be the same for every university.

I think there will be long term impact on things like recruitment, spending. So if the govt is going to help that would be amazing.

There’s also the issue that universities over offer in the knowledge that not all students will make their grades. Which is less likely this year if students have firmed Or insured with what they felt was a safe offer. Many courses can’t physically accommodate the number of students they’ve made offers to. Obviously some offers made will be to students where they won’t accept. Sept could be interesting.


justasking111 Mon 30-Mar-20 13:26:49

It is worrying for students.

ADreamOfGood Mon 30-Mar-20 14:26:43

So much for DfE saying no-one will be disadvantaged by not sitting their exams then.

BubblesBuddy Mon 30-Mar-20 16:17:56

But by sitting the exams some students didn’t make the grades. There were always disappointments. No one was ever promised admission unless unconditional.

HugoSpritz Mon 30-Mar-20 18:13:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BubblesBuddy Mon 30-Mar-20 18:31:45

Exactly so possibly not much will change.

Mumteedum Mon 30-Mar-20 18:33:19

All unis have to offer many more places than they're able to accept because they're likely to only convert half or less to firm acceptances.

titchy Mon 30-Mar-20 18:34:58

These measures are to ensure that unis are not forced to take all students they made offers to though

No - they would be to stop (English) HEIs taking advantage of CV and taking anyone with a pulse, thus leaving no new entrants for anyone else, which would bankrupt quite a few unless the Gov bailed them out. Which they won't want to do.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 30-Mar-20 20:33:43

But at the minute if a uni miscalculated their over offers they have to let everyone who accepts have a place? That’s what I always understood though I admit I’m not that involved with admissions. I have heard of a uni offering a student 10k to who they had offered a place but couldn’t accept them as they’d overfilled. The student got 10k and a promise of a place for the following year.

titchy Mon 30-Mar-20 20:53:03

That's right viva. But there's no financial penalty - most institutions are delighted to recruit more than they targeted - remember we're in a demo graphic dip of 18 year olds!

Although it's difficult with lab/studio subjects though if you over recruit, and there are caps for medics, and inScotland.

Ginfordinner Tue 31-Mar-20 08:00:13

The RG inevitably don't like it!

I don’t understand why. Isn’t it traditionally the universities who struggle to get bums on seats tend to offer more unconditional offers than the RG universities?

There’s also the issue that universities over offer in the knowledge that not all students will make their grades

I know that Cambridge over offers quite significantly. How will they be able to differentiate top students from an already high achieving set of students? What about maths where the students also have to take STEP?

TheDrsDocMartens Tue 31-Mar-20 08:13:23

This is a low birth rate year so if they cap this year then will it be similar numbers for next year or proportional?

titchy Tue 31-Mar-20 10:14:26

Gin - normally yes, but a lot of higher tariff institutions very quickly made their offers unconditional last week, not their normal behaviour, but not normal conditions, in an attempt to guarantee an intake in September. So those that miss their grades by a large margin, and would normally be in clearing, just wouldn't be there, hence those that recruit in clearing not having many students to start.

Ginfordinner Tue 31-Mar-20 10:29:04

Ah, that makes sense titchy. It looks like there will be quite a miss match in terms of the course demands and the academic capabilities of the student in the next intake.

I guess that the higher tariff institutions will be worried about the lack of overseas students as well.

It's all a horrible mess isn't it.

BubblesBuddy Tue 31-Mar-20 14:18:51

More home students might defer. Large numbers might defer from abroad. What Sept numbers will look like is a guess.

HugoSpritz Tue 31-Mar-20 17:51:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

orangejuicer Tue 31-Mar-20 19:07:37

This is England only by the way.

fromlittleacorns Tue 31-Mar-20 23:04:12

I don't know if many will defer - if things aren't 'back to normal' it may be difficult to get work, or to travel. And 15 months volunteering is hard to finance. (sorry, I'm on repeat here from another thread for those who are on both!). Otoh if things are sort of 'back to normal', there's no particular reason to defer.

BubblesBuddy Tue 31-Mar-20 23:32:42

Yes. You might be right. I wasn’t thinking about jobs and travelling. It was more about deferring due to uncertainty. But that covers more or less every scenario right now.

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