Higher Education: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the advice given to higher education providers regarding widening participation, and the minimum threshold qualifications that students are required to have before being accepted on a degree course.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for Education) (Higher Education)

Higher education institutions are independent and autonomous. As autonomous organisations, higher education providers are responsible for their own admissions policies and procedures. Decisions on who to admit are a matter for individual institutions, and the Government does not have the right to intervene in these internal processes. Higher education providers are best placed to determine their entry requirements, and to decide who has the ability and the potential to succeed on a particular course.

Providers wishing to charge above the basic fee amount must have an access agreement, agreed by the independent Director for Fair Access, which sets out the measures they will put in place to support access to, and participation in, higher education by disadvantaged students and under-represented groups. The Director for Fair Access issues annual guidance to institutions on strategic priorities for access agreements. The Director for Fair Access must have regard to guidance issued by the Government setting out its expectations on the areas that institutions should focus on. In 2017/18, institutions plan to spend £833 million through their access agreements.

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