Universities across England have opposed proposals to limit student numbers and access to credit, describing that these plans could crush aspirations and fix shortcomings.
In response to government consultations, three major university groups merged with the National Union Students in opposition to plans to restrict undergraduate students enrolling in “low-value” courses, and to stop students from receiving state-supported tuition fees and maintenance credits if they do not have minimum GCSE or A-level grades.
Universities UK (UUK), which represents the leaders of major universities Englandsaid he was “strongly opposed” to any introduction of a number limit, saying it would do the most harm to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“In addition to limiting student choice, limiting the number of students fixes a disadvantage because students who cannot move to enroll in university have fewer opportunities to apply and be admitted to university, making them more likely to choose a path with worse employment results, ”UUK said.
Disadvantaged students are also among those who are likely to be most affected by the minimum credit requirements. UUK warned that the restrictions would have “significant financial implications” for universities, “limiting their ability to support their disadvantaged students and invest locally.”
An analysis conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Research found that the credit limit for students with the GCSE in Mathematics and English, as proposed in a government consultation, will have a disproportionate impact on ethnic minority students as well as students who received free school meals.
Larissa Kennedy, president of NUS, said: “This government is parroting the language of ‘raising the bar’, but these proposals are classicist, conceivable and racist: they are harshly targeted at people from marginalized communities and seek to monitor education.”
The University Alliance (UA), representing Britain’s leading vocational and technical universities such as Coventry and Teeside, said the proposals “would only stifle aspiration and exacerbate shortcomings”, jeopardizing the number of graduates in key areas such as social work and computer science.
The UA also attacked a proposal to cut funding for undergraduate students, saying they would make the courses unsustainable and harm disadvantaged and mature students who used them to enroll in higher education.
Vanessa Wilson, UA executive director, said: “The focus for the proposed higher education reforms is far from the goal, and if they are implemented, the victims … will be the poorest and most disadvantaged in society.”
Rachel Hewitt, CEO MillionPlus Group – representing modern universities such as Bath Spa and the University of Cumbria – said the policy has “profound and far-reaching implications”.
“MillionPlus remains fundamentally opposed to minimum admission requirements that run counter to the basic principles of inclusion, aspiration and the power of education,” Hewitt said.
“Universities are best able to decide on the suitability of each candidate based on his or her own merits. At a purely practical level, the minimum requirements are likely to be unfeasible due to the number of exceptions that would need to be considered, for example, for students with special educational needs. ”
In response to Fr. Department of Education The spokesman said: “We have not offered to ban anyone from entering the university: rather, we are starting a conversation about the minimum requirements for admission and asking whether young people should be pushed to full degree without being prepared for this level of education.
“We offer exemptions for full-time students, those with an academic year or a relevant certificate or diploma, and support these alternative routes through counseling to reduce the cost of the foundation and through our new right to a lifelong loan that will provide many different ways to improve careers. and human life opportunities.
“These exceptions will mean that 1% or less of the total number of entrants will be affected by any of the minimum requirements.
“Similarly, the government does not propose to limit the total number of people entering universities, and recognizes the transformative power of higher education. We are, however, consulting on how we could prevent the uncontrolled growth of low quality courses with poor results. ”
However, the DfE’s own assessment of the impact of the proposals on equality showed that restricting access to credit would “disproportionately affect students who are black and from ethnic minority groups”.
Black students make up 27% of those enrolled without passing the GCSE in English and Mathematics, compared with 8% of students who would be exempt.