Universities are to look at whether the admissions system should be changed so that students apply to them after receiving their A-level results.
Universities UK, which represents 136 institutions across the country, has launched a “fair admissions review” which will consider a range of issues.
Social mobility: Unis urged to lower offers for poorer students
The advisory group for the review will include the university admissions body Ucas, as well as school, college, student and university representatives, and it is expected to report its recommendations in spring 2020.
PQA has been supported by organisations such as the University and College Union and the Sutton Trust, who argue that it would eliminate unconditional offers and the “chaotic” clearing process, and boost social mobility.
However, the chief executive of Ucas, Clare Marchant, has warned that such a change could “really backfire”, with “very vulnerable” pupils being forced to make a decision over a short timeframe in the summer holidays when they have little support from their school.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “This review will establish the evidence, best practice and inform the debate around university admissions.
“It will determine whether different types of offers operate in the best interests of students and are fair to all.
“Universities will continue to make their own decisions on offers, but the review aims to build greater levels of transparency, trust and public understanding in admissions practices.”
Ms Marchant, who will sit on the advisory group, commented: “We absolutely welcome the Universities UK review of admissions practices and look forward to working with the project advisory group to deliver meaningful recommendations.
“Students’ best interests must be the paramount consideration for universities and colleges when making offers. It’s essential that students are supported to make informed choices and the right decisions about their future.”