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Education Secretary Warns Against Pressure-Selling Tactics

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The Education Secretary has called for a full review of university admissions to stop pressure-selling tactics.

A UCAS report released earlier this year highlighted the extent to which some institutions used what are described as 'conditional unconditional' offers.

These types of offers provide students with a guaranteed place, but only if they put the university as their first option.

The practice could be in breach of laws designed to protect consumers from entering into a transaction they otherwise wouldn't have.

Mr Hinds has now written to 23 universities using this recruitment technique, saying they are backing students into a corner to accept a place at their institution.

Commenting on the practice, he said: "It is simply unacceptable for universities to adopt pressure-selling tactics, which are harming students' grades in order to fill places. It is not what I expect to see from our world-class higher education institutions."

"Conditional unconditional offers are damaging the reputation of the institutions involved and our world-leading sector as a whole. That is why I will be writing to 23 universities, urging them to stamp out this unethical practice."

"But I am concerned about the wider picture of how some universities are getting students through their doors, so I am asking the OfS to look at how well current admissions practices serve students and how they can be improved, so we can protect the integrity of our higher education system."

The University of Birmingham is just one of the institutions being written to after it made 4,750 conditional unconditional offers to 18-year-olds in 2018.

Meanwhile, the University of Roehampton made 1,940 conditional unconditional offers to 18-year-olds from England, Northern Ireland and Wales, equating to 65.8% of all their offers made to this group.