Universities: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 28 February (HL13946), whether there are regulations that cover the reversal of prior conditional offers of places to students who were subsequently deemed to have satisfied previously advertised admissions criteria for their intended course; if so, what they are; and whether recommendations were made to the Office for Students to the effect that students whose offer of a place on their intended course had been reversed should instead be unconditionally offered a place on a different course at the same institution, for which the student concerned had not originally applied.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

There are no such regulations, and no recommendations have been made to the Office for Students (OfS) to that effect.

In relation to undergraduate admissions, once an offer has been made and accepted by a prospective student, a contract is formed between the higher education provider and the student. This is certainly the view of the Competition and Markets Authority, as set out on page 31 of its guidance to higher education providers on consumer law dated 12 March 2015, and it is already a condition of registration imposed by the OfS that registered providers must give due regard to relevant guidance on how to comply with consumer law. Given this, we do not see the need for any additional regulation to protect students against the potential withdrawal of an offer they have already accepted.

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