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Universities: Admissions

Question for Department for Education

UIN 84361, tabled on 2 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the ability of universities to manage the increased number of places available to students for the 2020-21 academic year.

Answered on

9 September 2020

I have written directly to all Vice Chancellors and have set up a Higher Education Taskforce so that the government can work with the sector to build capacity, harness expert views and tackle challenges. Together, we have agreed that all students who achieved the required grades will be offered a place at their first-choice university, wherever possible.

We have taken a number to steps to support this commitment. We have announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, we will completely remove temporary student number controls to help ensure there are no additional barriers to students being able to progress to higher education.

We have announced that we will lift caps on domestic medicine and dentistry courses in the next academic year. We will support providers to offer places to as many students who have met the grades for their current offer as they have capacity for, and where there are clinical placements available, through additional grant funding to support the costs of this provision.

We will also provide additional teaching grant funding to increase capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other high-cost subjects, which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy. The Office for Students (OfS) will consult the sector on the details of how the allocations are made.

Providers will also be eligible to bid for a share of up to £10 million in funding to support capital expenditure. This funding will be used to support the infrastructure required to accommodate additional students recruited as a result of the changes to policy on A level grades.

The fund will be administered by the OfS, and providers will be eligible to bid for projects that support expansion in 2020-21.

We will continue to monitor the situation and to consider the effects that deferrals will have on future years. Funding decisions for future years will be taken at the Spending Review.