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Institutions Increase Use of Unconditional Offers

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The latest data from UCAS highlights that several institutions are heavily relying on the use of unconditional offers.

In a fight to increase student numbers in a competitive environment, the University of Suffolk, York St John University and the University of Bolton, made more than 70% of their offers unconditional in 2018.

Nottingham Trent University made some form of unconditional offer to 8,660 applications, whilst Lincoln University made 6,150 and Sheffield Hallam 5,835. York St John's made 4,645 offers of this type, whilst 3,435 offers at Bournemouth had an unconditional element.

The Office for Students (Ofs) has previously raised concerns over the use of what are described as conditional unconditional offers, where a university offers a place unconditionally only if applicants make it their first choice.

Commenting on the latest figures, Nicola Dandridge, the Ofs's chief executive, said: "There are some good reasons why universities might make unconditional offers. However, for a number of universities this data will make uncomfortable reading - where they cannot justify the offers they make they should reconsider their approach."

Meanwhile, Universities UK has suggest it will explore to see if more can be done to ensure they are used appropriately and in the best interests of students.

The use of unconditional offers isn't restricted to a university's ranking, with Russell Group institutions also offering large numbers.

For example, the University of Birmingham made 4,765 offers with an unconditional component, compared to just 330 in 2013.

The growth in unconditional offers have occurred since the government lifted the cap on undergraduate places in 2015, leading to an increasingly competitive market.