University of Northampton criticised for making high numbers of unconditional offers

University of Northampton says it emphasises that prospective students continue to apply themselves to their A Levels after an offer has been made
University of Northampton says it emphasises that prospective students continue to apply themselves to their A Levels after an offer has been made

More than half of the offers made to prospective University of Northampton students are unconditional, latest figures show.

It comes after the Office for Students (OfS) - the universities watchdog - published research showing unconditional offers often resulted in teens missing their predicted A Levels marks by two grades or more.

The University of Northampton offered 5,825 students a place in 2018. About 55 per cent of those offers were unconditional, offering a place no matter what grades they attained.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said such figures area "alarming".

He said: "The steep rise in unconditional offers across a wide range of subjects is disturbing, and I believe that widespread use of these offers is not in the best interests of students, who should be encouraged to reach their full potential."

Office for Students (OfS) chief executive Nicola Dandridge said: "For a number of universities this data will make for uncomfortable reading - where they cannot justify the offers, they should reconsider their approach."

A University spokesperson said that, unlike other institutions, it does not offer an unconditional place in exchange for an applicant making a decision on the spot.

On the possible effects on university grades: “We explain to all applicants who receive an unconditional offer that their pre-university grades are likely to impact their future career, in particular when employers demand certain grades as part of their job specifications, so it is vital that they continue to work hard to achieve the best results possible before embarking on a degree course.”