A vice-chancellor said this week he would rather "leave some courses unviable" than admit under-qualified students. Lowering entry requirements to fill places would be storing trouble, said Philip Tasker, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University.
The only students without A levels De Montfort accepts are those entering year zero access courses and they have to pass the requirements of the access course to progress to degree programmes.
Other universities insisted they would not consider anyone with fewer than two A-level passes. The University of Derby said it would consider mature candidates without traditional entry requirements for foundation degrees.
Keele University no longer runs its foundation-year degree programme, except in science, where candidates with two grade Es at A level will be considered. Most other courses require at least 12 points.
The University of Central England said 12 points was also its most common entry requirement, although mature students with relevant experience and two low-grade A-level passes would be considered for some subjects, such as engineering.
Nottingham Trent University said it would normally require at least eight A-level points, even for entry to its new foundation degree course. The minimum average for other courses was 12 points.