Tariff trouble

January 7, 2000

I was surprised that from a sample of three you could justify a report criticising the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service tariff ("Staff reject tariff reforms", THES, December 17). According to one of the three, neither UCAS in general, nor I in particular, "represents universities' opinions very well".

In our latest consultation, in particular on the relation between A and E grades at A level, there was support for our proposals from 67.92 per cent of higher education institutions (including good majorities from both pre-1992 and post-1992 universities), 68.3 per cent of schools, 80 per cent of further education institutions and 100 per cent of careers services and local education authorities. Allowing for those institutions that did not respond, this is a ringing endorsement of our ideas.

A colleague visited three universities, "old" and "new", in a week before Christmas. All of them positively welcomed the tariff, which they said would enable them to phrase their offers more accurately and comprehensively.

The new tariff is not being forced on universities or colleges of higher education, which will choose how to make their offers, be they in terms of grades or points.

M. A. Higgins Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

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