Students with unconditional offers more likely to drop out

Analysis by the Office for Students highlights a 10 per cent difference in dropout rates between those accepting conditional and unconditional offers

Undergraduates are more likely to dropout in their first year of university if they received unconditional offers ahead of receiving exam results.

That’s according to analysis published today (Oct 30) by the Office for Students (OfS), which highlights a 10 per cent difference in dropout rates between students accepting conditional and unconditional offers.

“We already know that students who receive an unconditional offer are more likely to miss their predicted grades at school,” said OfS chief executive, Nicola Dandridge.

“It is a cause of real concern that they are also more likely to drop out of university once they get there.”

The OfS’ analysis covered 18-year-olds in England at universities, colleges and other higher education providers.

A move to post-qualification admissions, where students receive offers after their results, would be much fairer to students.
 – UCU general secretary, Jo Grady

“Dropout rates are overall low in England,” Dandridge added, “so this is a small effect. But we are not talking about one or two students. This is a couple of hundred students per year who have made a significant investment of time and money in a degree from which they are unlikely to benefit.

“As our regulatory framework sets out, admissions systems must be reliable, fair and inclusive. What we are seeing here are admissions systems that are not fair and are not working in students’ best interests.”


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Dandridge’s concerns were echoed by the University and College Union (UCU).

“Universities scrabbling to attract students with unconditional offers are too often focused on the bottom line rather than student interests,” said UCU general secretary, Jo Grady.

“These latest figures show that many students are ill-served by the current admissions system, and that there is a real need for urgent reform.

“A move to post-qualification admissions, where students receive offers after their results, would be much fairer to students. It would eradicate the problems associated with unconditional offers, end the gamble of predicted grades and bring the whole of the UK into line with the rest of the world when it comes to university admissions.”

Click here to read the OfS’ analysis in full.

 

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