About 85,000 young men and women who go to university in September will have grades equivalent to, or better than, AAB – or 35 points in the International Baccalaureate. From now on, such candidates will be especially favoured. Universities have always operated under strict controls, quotas which while restricting costs for the Treasury, have also limited choice for students. However, from now on, universities will have no cap on the number of candidates gaining AAB or better that they can accept. The quotas that exist will only apply to those who fall below this cut-off.
The decision means that the best universities, those which are able to attract the top candidates, can significantly expand. It also means that such candidates will become even more attractive: they will have more choice and some will find themselves being offered scholarships or other incentives to encourage them to choose one university over another. This will be especially true of middling universities that are nervous that strong candidates will overlook them. Kent is already offering £2000 scholarships to those who gain AAA and Bradford is offering £3500 to any who gain AAB or above. Not all competitive universities intend to expand – Oxford and Cambridge, for example, say that they have no current plans to recruit more undergraduates.
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