Less privileged uni applicants to get help?

Campaigners this week have welcomed the idea to give poorer students a two grade boost to help them get into leading universities.

A-level students who are hoping to carry on their studies into the realms of higher education could see their chances increased.

If you happen to live in a less affluent postcode area than the next fresh-fresher you stand a better chance against other candidates from more comfortable households.

In fact, there is a chance that if the better off candidate does marginally better than the candidate living in the poorer postcode area, that candidate would get the place at the university; not the hypothetical middle-classed candidate.

While leading central government figures are looking into the idea, professionals working with the BBC have said it was important to widen the social mix in universities. Other institutions like the Mail have totally carped the idea, suggesting it is positive discrimination.

This poses the question,in relation to those universities non-leading — would these boosts lead to future hopefuls falling short in their applications? This scheme would only dwindle and die the minute we see balance in income-assessed student numbers for loans and tuition.

Ultimately, bringing about this kind of scheme will always come with the same recoil from those who won’t benefit from it. There is also scope for this scheme to suffer a fair amount of abuse in terms of how it can be played — solely by people who don’t want to work that much.

And then where does that leave the university? They may have a fairer and broader scope in relation to applicants, but is work ethic is going to suffer overall? There is a 60% attainment percentage one needs to reach at their school/college before being let onto the scheme.

The fact remains that if there are identical grades attained by two different students, what will depend on entry in this circumstance is where they come from; one from a poorer postcode will have grades boosted and the other not.

The only loop-hole would be if both students were to get three A’s. Retrospectively, shouldn’t the state schools just raise the bar? Get up to that standard, preparing all for higher education?

National coverage: The Mail | BBC News | The Student Room

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