OfS to review university admissions

The university watchdog has promised an investigation into admissions in its second-year business plan

The Office for Students (OfS) has announced a review of university admissions.

The watchdog’s second-year business plans announced a raft of new initiatives which include a student engagement strategy and a ‘what works’ centre to improve access and participation.

The plan identifies 24 areas of work that range from a revamp of the national student survey (NSS) to a financial sustainability report on the HE sector. The report also mentions the need to address “unwarranted grade inflation”.

Many of the plans, however, have been pushed back from last year, including student protection plans and the value for money (VFM) strategy. These are to be unveiled in June and December 2019, respectively.

In her foreword, OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge said: “We recognise that we work in a turbulent environment, and that in order to maintain a rigorous focus on what matters most for students we may need to flex what we do to respond appropriately to change.”

Dandridge also asked the OfS be “judged on how efficiently and effectively we work”. The plan has detailed how the watchdog plans to achieve and measure success.

The risk-based regulator plans to “refine indicators to ensure that early signs of financial stress are identified”. After it warned against ‘ambitious’ student number forecasts earlier this year, the OfS aims to identify those HEI with the most at-risk business model.


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