35,000 new places will be freed up for universities with the highest entry requirements, meaning that they’ll have more room for students with the highest grades. This also means that these students will be less likely than before to go to mid-table universities, many of which have massively improved their rankings in recent years. Those universities with the highest Times ranking and best
student ratings will be able to snap up all the bright sparks, leaving fewer students to go round at unis with lower rankings.
David Willets, the government minister responsible for universities, said: "A third of all students will now be free of number controls. This is what our university reforms are all about – putting choice and power in the hands of students.
"We are rolling back the controls on places at individual universities that have been a barrier to competition. Students will gain as universities attract them by offering a high-quality academic experience."
As well as unlimited places for students with top grades, the government has announced 5000 more ‘core and margin’ places. These are given to universities who keep their
tuition fees low (well, if you call £7,500 ‘low’), with the aim of encouraging more unis to charge less than the maximum £9,000 per year for tuition.
There’s a real risk now that mid-table universities who can’t compete for these top students will end up massively undersubscribed. With fewer students and less money from tuition fees in the bank, these universities might be forced to close niche courses, or even whole departments, to stay afloat in the newly competitive university market.
Three in four universities are likely to see a drop in student numbers as the top students are redistributed to the top of the academic tree, which means that many of the oldest and richest universities will get richer and larger whilst the smaller ones get smaller.
Did you know Whatuni has an entry grades filter? If you know which subject you’d like to study, you can search for it using the big yellow search bar, then add your grades, predicted grades or tariff points to reorder your results by entry requirements. We’ll only show you the unis you can get into, so you can grab prospectuses and check fees and entry requirements quickly, all in one place.