The closure of schools and the cancellation of exams as part of the coronavirus lockdown has led to some English universities changing conditional offers to unconditional ones.
The Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, has called upon universities to not make offers unconditional or entry requirements lower. Donelan has asked for two weeks to co-operate with universities on what measures should be taken in the admissions process. She has stated that:
We must also look out for students, too, who in these uncertain times may be feeling anxious about their futures. I want to reassure students that we will provide them with the grades they need. No student should feel pressured into making a quick decision, which may end up not being in their best interest.
The Chief Executive of the Office for Students, Nicola Dandridge, has warned:
If any university or college adjusts any offer to students, or makes any unconditional offers, during this two-week moratorium, we will use any powers available to us to prevent such offer-making on the grounds that it is damaging to students and not in their interests.
Universities UK’s Chief Executive, Alistair Jarvis, has responded:
We support today’s call and believe universities will respond positively to ensure that no student feels rushed into a decision at what is already a difficult time.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, unconditional offers were criticised due to fears that they demotivate students and result in lower grades in exams.