A-level power
Image: Warwick Media Library

A-level students to have more power in choosing a university due to COVID-19

Experts are saying that current A-level students have more power in upcoming university decisions due to the effects of COVID-19. 

The number of international students applying to UK universities is set to decrease under COVID restrictions. This means that more spaces will be available at domestic universities for British students. 

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found that universities were preparing to lose 80-100% of international students in the upcoming academic year.

Universities are preparing to fill these empty spaces with domestic students as the loss in tuition fees is predicted to be in the region of £3-19 billion.

Many universities are planning to expand the number of home students they accept this year by 5% to help make up for this financial loss. 

Experts also mention how the lack of exams means that the results A-level students receive have the possibility to be more flexible.  

The way they are grading A-levels this year gives [young people] much more room to negotiate. You can easily ring and make a case for being let in based on your grades being wrong

– Nick Hillman

Director of HEPI Nick Hillman said:  “The way they are grading A-levels this year gives [young people] much more room to negotiate. You can easily ring and make a case for being let in based on your grades being wrong.” 

Academics are concerned that economically disadvantaged students will be less likely to negotiate an offer compared to middle-class students. 

Some say that this could not be the case for poorer students as the new system of calculating results could be disadvantageous to them

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, said:  “There is a genuine fear that many disadvantaged pupils who would have excelled in their A-levels this year will be penalised with lower scores by the system of calculated grades, which estimates grades on the basis of historical averages of schools.”

The University of Warwick places 11th in the number of international students at university with 26% of Warwick’s students being international. Therefore, Warwick is set to be highly disrupted in its new set of student admissions.

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