According to recent findings, 40% of students who attend universities in the UK were accepted with grades lower than two Es at A-level. The Higher Education Policy Institute found out that the amount of students who enter universities without good A-level passes has increased during the recent seven years.
In 2009, 40% of students from the UK with two E grades at A-level were accepted on to a degree course while in 2003 this number of students awarded places was only 24%.
Ucas – the universities and colleges admission service – converts such qualifications as A-levels into the tariff system although some overseas qualifications are not included there. The thinktank revealed that many students who got places at university would have been mature students returning to education without A-levels.
, the thinktank's director: "It is one of the strengths of the UK higher education system – and a feature that sets it apart from most others in Europe – that second-chance higher education is possible".
However, Geoffrey Alderman, professor of politics at Buckingham University, considers that giving a chance to people who have less than the minimum qualifications is a good idea but this should be investigated.
The thinktank found that the number of university applicants without tariff points had increased between 2008 and 2010. The essays
suggests that by 2020 almost 100,000 applicants from England could fail to get a university place.