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The Telegraph Reports on the latest HEPI / YouthSight Monitor Research


The Telegraph draws upon our research with the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) to report on the impact of universities making lower grade offers to disadvantaged students.
Andreanne Orsier, Higher Education Research Team
Andreanne Orsier, Higher Education Research Team

Andréanne heads up YouthSight’s Higher Education research team and helps universities drive commercial success.

The Telegraph draws upon our research with the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) to report on the impact of universities making lower grade offers to disadvantaged students.

It's no secret that universities have been providing 'contextual offers' to disadvantaged students in order to meet their fair access targets. This means that bright students from deprived areas or poorly performing schools have a greater opportunity to attend university through lower grade admissions.

But despite it's widespread debate, the Telegraph reports that universities remain secretive about contextual offers out of fear of backlash from middle-class students. 

HEPI's report: 'What do students think about contextual admissions?' investigates whether this fear is substantiated, and in order to find out, we polled 1,035 undergraduates to see what they really think about the process.

...and the results were mixed.

45% of the polled students oppose to the use of contextual offers and over a quarter of students felt that lower grade offers would mean it's harder for those without a disadvantaged background to get into university; a concern supported by the Office for Students' (OfS) statement that the top universities will need to accept fewer middle-class students in order to meet diversity targets. 

Our survey also highlighted another concern: 39% of students felt that they didn't think lower grade admission students would be able to keep up academically.

Despite this, the majority of students didn't oppose to the idea and those from the most selective Russel Group universities were more likely to support lower grade offers. 

Nick Hillman, Director of HEPI surmises the research well with the statement that "there is a lot of sympathy for lowering offers but it is about half-half. So there is still considerable work to be done on winning over hearts and minds." 

Read More

Read the full article in the Telegraph here or access the HEPI report here.

If you found this article interesting, then you may also be interested in reading our latest HE Research Snippet on 'Selling Well in a Buyers' Market' - which is available to read and download here.

Cover Image HE Research Snippet #36


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