UK: Universities socially engineer intakes

In a move that critics claim filters out middle class students, admission tutors at leading institutions are being told to give interviews and make offers to working class candidates who have attended low performing schools or who live in postcodes where few go on to higher education, writes Julie Henry in The Sunday Telegraph. It comes as more universities, including Sussex, Worcester, Dundee and the University of East Anglia, have decided not to use the new A* grade at A-level in offers from 2010 amid fears that independent school pupils will win more places.

Documents obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show that at Newcastle University, the 'applicant profiler system for 2009' will use a series of symbols to flag up candidates from disadvantage backgrounds. Applications marked with a diamond indicate those from deprived postcodes, a square shows their parents are from manual or non-skilled occupations, a triangle shows that their school has low GCSE results, while a star denotes a school with poor A-level point scores.

Critics said the systems being adopted by institutions were driven by Government pressure and could represent a systematic bias against other candidates.
Full report on The Telegraph site