University of Wolverhampton says students with low A-level grades ‘do very well’

by Hayley Pearce | 2 Apr 2019

University bosses defend their policy of accepting students with less than EEE

Bosses at the University of Wolverhampton say admitting teenagers with low grades can provide the opportunity they need to transform their lives.

New figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that 2,790 teenagers with less than three E grades were admitted to universities in 2017.

The University of Wolverhampton accepted the highest number of students (150, or 8% of its total intake) with these grades, with the University of Bedfordshire (135, or 15% of its intake) and Leeds Beckett University (120, or 3% of its intake) accepting the second and third highest numbers.

While some claim that universities are bringing in as many students as possible just to make money, the institutions taking those with low grades often say they did so because they catered for disadvantaged communities.


Geoff Layer, vice-chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said that the results proved students were making the most of the opportunity.

He said: "The important thing to recognise is they have passed their exams. These students have been successful in passing their A-levels, they have then secured a place at university and the vast majority go on to do very well. Some people do better in exams.

"We are the university of opportunity. It is about giving them a chance. A lot of these students go on to four-year courses to enable them to succeed and 96% go into jobs within six months. It transforms lives.

"There is no fixed level for going to university. People do amazing things from this university."

A University of Bedfordshire spokesman said: “Our analysis of students who enter with three Ds has found that with the right support and guidance, they achieve very similar success as their peers with better A-level grades.

“We believe to restrict access to university through tariff entry would be socially regressive and harm social mobility.”


The Campaign for Real Education said the university admissions process "has become a money-making racket."

It added that the "main aim is to pull in as many student punters as possible, regardless of grades, because they bring with them £9,250 a year for the university".

A Wolverhampton University spokesperson said it “plays a direct role in economic regeneration and improving the skills and life chances of the communities we serve.”

They added: “Our students consistently demonstrate the desire and will to succeed against the odds, often being the first person in their families to go to university.”


TSR member Dr Zeuss™ thinks lower A-level grades are a sign university is not the right path, saying: Getting DDD-EEE surely shows academia isn't for you, so why waste your time going to university. You'd be much better off getting a job and getting experience.”

But TSR member Tnt_Samboss_XoX said: “Just because one does poorly in their A-levels by getting EEE or something does not mean university is not for them, I got EEE in my A-levels and I am planning on going to uni.

“I admit I messed around in my A-levels by partying too much and studying too little but this was because my heart was not in my chosen college subjects.”

And 27pence said: “I got one E at A-level, did a foundation year at the University of Glamorgan and then a degree, and am now doing a PhD at the University of Warwick.

“One thing all should remember, especially those who are disappointed with their results, is that often people who have the qualifications may not have the right attitude. So people keep your heads up high, and if you put a bit of effort in, everything will fall into place.”

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