Critics question motives behind drop in entry requirements

Against the threat of academic staff layoffs, an announcement by the Russell Group this month has hit a nerve for many. In a letter signed by the group’s 24 member universities, its chief executive, Tim Bradshaw, confirmed it would be increasing its student intake – a move he said was motivated by the stress imposed on applicants after A-level exams were cancelled last year, writes Rachael Pells for iNews.

Given the elitist reputation of these top-ranking universities, a conscious effort to widen access to more students from poorer backgrounds might be welcomed – but some academics have labelled it a “cynical” move set up to steal students from hard-up universities further down the rankings.

“It’s just hollow PR and does not represent the Russell Group’s real motivations,” says one senior manager and professor at a post-92 institution former polytechnic. “Is it a coincidence that suddenly the Russell Group wants to adopt a ‘let the peasants in’ approach the same year they lose billions from international student fees? The reason they are doing this is purely financial; to dress it up as anything else is just mendacious.”
Full report on the iNews site