From 2012-13, universities will be able to recruit as many students as they want provided they have grades of AAB or better at A-level, part of a two-pronged plan by the coalition to introduce competition into the sector.
However, a number of university groups have called for the government to go further and reduce the threshold.
Now it has been suggested that the government, which has indicated a desire to extend the policy in future years, is planning to lower the grade limit to ABB in 2013-14.
The Times newspaper says the proposal had been due to be included in the grant letter, which had been expected to be sent out to institutions yesterday.
It reports that but that ministers have asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England for additional analysis on its potential impact, resulting in further delay to the letter.
The paper quotes an unnamed “government source” as saying: “Our view is that we would like to move to ABB.”