Government move to uncap more student places is good news for students and universities, says 1994 Group


The 1994 Group of leading universities has responded to the confirmation that universities will be free to recruit as many undergraduates as they wish with A-level grades of ABB or higher for courses beginning in autumn 2013.


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


“Today’s news means that a greater number of talented students will have the opportunity to study at their first choice university, as the best institutions expand to meet high demand for places. The news has been a long time coming and the uncertainty has been difficult, but the Government should be congratulated for introducing this new freedom.


“For months the 1994 Group has warned about the danger of restricting such freedoms to a self- selecting elite or to institutions offering a cut-price education. While other HE sector voices called for a conservative status quo we stood alone in making the case for increased flexibility in student number controls. This was based on our firm belief that allowing all universities to compete for all students would drive up the quality of the student experience across the sector as institutions strive to attract ever more demanding students. “


“However, alongside this good news, a further 5000 student places are to be allocated to the margin. Combined with the margin places taken out of the core allocation of places for this year this means that around 45,000 places have been reserved for the lowest cost providers of higher education. The impact of this will have to be carefully monitored to ensure that the overall quality of the UK higher education sector is not diminished.


“Despite this, today’s announcement means that more and more outstanding students will reap the rewards of genuine choice, while the very best universities will no longer have to turn away excellent candidates.” 




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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.

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