Student number controls are restricting student choice, says 1994 Group

The 1994 Group of leading universities has responded to the information on Recurrent Grants and student number controls for 2012-13, released today (Thursday) by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).


Professor Michael Farthing, Chairman of the 1994 Group and Vice Chancellor at the University of Sussex, said:


“The information released today by HEFCE rubber stamps the fact that many excellent students will be denied places at their first choice universities. The number of students universities are allowed to recruit has been cut across the sector, with20,000 places auctioned off to institutions with lower than average fees. Far from giving the best universities freedom to take on more students this represents a push to a cut-price education, particularly as fee income now represents the primary source of investment in the quality of the student experience.


“Furthermore, with uncapped student places restricted only to applicants with A Level grades of AAB or above there is every chance that some excellent institutions will lose further places. There are only so many AAB students to go around and they are likely to be snapped up by a few self-declared ‘elite’ institutions, able to rely on historical brand prestige to attract applications. Any university losing AAB students will not be allowed to take on students with different grades, such as two Bs and an A, to take their place. This means that many talented students will be denied places at highly regarded universities.


“If the Government is serious about putting students at the heart of the system it needs to allow all universities the freedom to compete for all students. Restricting competition only to self-selecting elites and cut-price providers reduces the level of choice available to the vast majority of students. By allowing all universities to compete for all students we will see each and every university continuously driving up the quality of their student experience in order to attract ever more demanding students.”




Media Contact:
Mark Fuller

0207 872 5596

07952 286 223



Notes to Editors:

1.    The 1994 Group represents the UK’s leading student-focused research-intensive universities. It was established in 1994 to promote excellence in University research and teaching.


2.  9 of the top 20 universities in the Guardian University Guide 2012 league tables are 1994 Group members. 5 of the top 20 universities in the 2012 Sunday Times University League Table are 1994 Group members. 6 of the top 20 universities in the 2012 Complete University Guide are 1994 Group members. The University of Bath is the Sunday Times University of the year.

3. The 1994Group represents: University of Bath, Birkbeck University of London,  University of East Anglia, University of Essex,  Goldsmiths University of London, Institute of Education University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Lancaster University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Reading, University of St Andrews, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Surrey, University of Sussex.

back to latest news index