Ucas application
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Universities concerned over new postgraduate application system

Universities are facing fears over the admissions body Ucas’ plans for a new application system for postgraduate courses.

This January, Ucas has announced plans to use a new “AI-driven” application system for international postgraduates. 

In an attempt to help the UK attract international students, the new system aims to simplify and streamline the process of applying to institutions of higher education.

The new system would include a “multi-language mobile app” known as “MO”. Under the new system, postgraduate students will be able to apply for different institutions through just one application.

This would replace the existing system where postgraduate students are required to send a unique application for each institution to which they apply.

Aaron Powell, Chief Digital and Data Officer at Ucas and future managing director of the new app, says that new technologies act as an educational “game changer”. 

Mr Powell said: “The new system allows for a streamlined application process, eliminating the need to complete multiple applications across different forms, or spend hours searching for postgraduate courses information, scholarships, accommodation, and employment, in different places.” 

The new system allows for a streamlined application process, eliminating the need to complete multiple applications across different forms, or spend hours searching for postgraduate courses

– Aaron Powell

This system is particularly controversial as universities would be left without a say on whether they use this system or not. 

There have been “ethical questions” raised over the fees charged for applications also raise fears for educational institutions, as the application process is taken largely out of their hands. 

Universities have also raised concerns that this new application system could also increase the amount of lower applications and a lengthier waiting time for offers, as a result of an oversimplified process.

In a letter from the Council for International Student Affairs, a representative body of all universities in the UK, the concern over a loss of institutional autonomy has been addressed to Ucas. 

These concerns also request that Ucas considers implementing an “opt in” aspect to the system, so that universities could have the choice on whether their applicants are charged or not. 

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