Staffordshire University told to clean up admission practices by education secretary

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The university has featured on a list of organisations who are being ordered to review the types of offers they send out to potential students.

Staffordshire is one of 23 universities listed who could be in breach of consumer protection laws if they do not change their admission practices. 

A full review is being called to stop them from offering ‘conditional unconditional’ to students. 

This admission practise means that students are guaranteed a place but only if they put the specific university as their first choice. 

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: ““It is simply unacceptable for universities to adopt pressure-selling tactics, which are harming students’ grades in order to fill places. 

“It is not what I expect to see from our world-class higher education institutions.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has slammed unethical offers.

“‘Conditional unconditional’ offers are damaging the reputation of the institutions involved and our world-leading sector as a whole. 

“That is why I will be writing to 23 universities, urging them to stamp out this unethical practice.”

Figures show in 2018, 34.4% of 18-year-olds from England, Northern Ireland and Wales received a form of unconditional offer. 

Compared to 2013 where the figures were only 1%. 

Staffordshire University refused to make themselves available for an interview but released the following comment. 

A spokesperson for Staffordshire University, said: ““The University revised its admissions policy and ceased to make “conditional unconditional’ with immediate effect on the 25th January. 

“We endeavour to ensure that our application process is straight-forward and transparent to prospective students and their advisors.

“We welcome the prospect of a review of the university admissions system which has the potential to ensure that any requirements apply equally to all higher education institutions, meaning that none are put at a disadvantage.”

UCAS data published last year shows that students who accept unconditional offers are proportionally 7% more likely to miss their predicted A levels by two grades. 

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, said: “This excessive use of conditional unconditional offers is not in the best interests of students.

“It is worrying to see such a major rise in their use across all subjects. 

“I know there is a place for unconditional offers, but I expect universities to use them responsibility.”

University’s including Keele, Derby and Sheffield Hallam also featured on the list.

Nottingham Trent who are 16 in the Guardian’s league table also featured along with Royal Holloway and Oxford Brookes.

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