Universities agree to honour all first choice offers for pupils who hit grades after U-turn

Universities have agreed to honour all-first choice offers for thousands of students rejected last week who have now had their results upgraded.

The government’s Higher Education Taskforce, including the Russell Group of universities and representative body Universities UK, has agreed the commitment as the government lifts the cap on places for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and teaching courses in the next academic year.

Additional funding for teaching grants is also being provided to increase capacity in medical, nursing, STEM and other high-cost subjects.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan (pictured) has said she wants universities “to do all they can” to take on students who achieved the necessary grades this year, or offer alternative courses or deferred places where required.

Universities admissions service UCAS received upgraded results for 160,000 A-level students from the four largest exam boards, after the government U-turned to award students their centre-assessed grades (CAGs), or calculated grades if higher.

100,000 students had already won a place at their first-choice university when the calculated A-level grades were released last week. Of the remaining 60,000 who had their grades updated under the CAG system, around a quarter will now meet the grades for their first-choice.

The government had already lifted temporary controls on student numbers for the 2020/21 academic year on Monday.

If a student receives a CAG which means they could go on to their chosen university, they should get in touch with that provider to discuss their options, it’s been advised. Students can ‘self-release’ from their existing offer of a university place through UCAS and accept a new offer at their preferred institution.

Schools and colleges received the revised A-level and As-level grades yesterday, and UCAS is aiming to share these grades with higher education providers by the end of the week so students can contact them.