Winners emerge in tug of war for ABB students

September 12, 2013

A Russell Group university has expanded its undergraduate intake by almost 1,000 students this year, as more winners emerge under the new system of competition for student numbers.

Times Higher Education carried out an anonymised survey of English higher education institutions, asking for the number of home/EU undergraduate acceptances for 2013-14, compared with the same point in the recruitment cycle last year.

Twenty-one institutions supplied figures – all showing increases in numbers on the previous year. On average across the 21 institutions, there was a 9.9 per cent rise in student numbers.

One Russell Group university has expanded its number of first-year entrants by 961.

Another member of the group of large research-intensive universities said it had grown its number of new students by 25 per cent.

The government’s high-grades system, allowing institutions unlimited recruitment of students with ABB A-level grades or equivalent in other qualifications, has given universities the chance to expand.

However, Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook has warned that a shortfall in the number of students with ABB at A level, rather than equivalent qualifications, could leave some more selective universities struggling to fill their places.

Significant expansion by some selective universities, along with the ABB A-level shortfall identified by Ms Curnock Cook, could mean falls in numbers at other selective institutions.

However, any institutions that have lost out are playing their cards close to their chest and did not respond to the THE survey, a possible sign of increased commercial sensitivities in the new market.

Meanwhile, there were also successes for post-1992 institutions, which may have found that high numbers of students with ABB equivalents such as BTECs have helped them to expand. One post-1992 institution had grown its student intake by 269, an 11 per cent increase. Another attracted 247 extra students, a 14 per cent increase.

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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