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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    it's clear that a admissions system that is only affordable when the number of applicants is significantly artificially decreased.
    Artificially decreased? Oxford alone gets about 18,000 (out of about 600,000 all told) applicants for 3,000 places. That means that about 6% of applicants think they are capable of getting into Oxford or Cambridge, and actually apply. Are there really 36,000 people capable of studying successfully at one of them every year?

    The problem is actually in the A-level, which encourages people to apply based on the inflated grades achieved nowadays.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    The truth is that you really think entry to Oxford and Cambridge is too competitive and you want a second cherry to bite on.
    Since you know what I really think, what do you think I mean by 'too competitive'. If you mean they don't have enough places I think we might all be in agreement.

    They must choose the people they want. That is fair enough. But they should not compete unfairly and the UCAS rule is clearly a strategy to reduce choice and lower their administrative overheads. That is what jneill's article is saying. It is anti-competitive but it was felt by the universities that this was the only way to make it workable after they merged UCCA with the polytechnic admissions system.

    I am suggesting that perhaps Oxbridge has failed to supply an adequate number of places to the market. It also makes it difficult for other players to fill the gap.
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    [QUOTE=Good bloke;63398475]Artificially decreased? Oxford alone gets about 18,000 (out of about 600,000 all told) applicants for 3,000 places. That means that about 6% of applicants think they are capable of getting into Oxford or Cambridge, and actually apply. Are there really 36,000 people capable of studying successfully at one of them every year?

    Of the 18,000 they interview 9,000 for the 3,000 places. My guess is that MOST of those 9,000 are capable of studying there. Otherwise there would be no point in inviting them. That is an under-supply of places.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    it was felt by the universities that this was the only way to make it workable after they merged UCCA with the polytechnic admissions system.
    No. The current system was brought in when UCCA originally started. Oxford and Cambridge would not have joined in without the condition.

    (Original post by Pars12)
    I am suggesting that perhaps Oxbridge has failed to supply an adequate number of places to the market. It also makes it difficult for other players to fill the gap.
    Perhaps you can have a word with the planning authorities in these two mediaeval cities and suggest ways for them to expand. Give particular emphasis in your submission to how Oxford can get around the flood problems that will arise form using land on the flood plains in the city.

    Surely, if these aren't competing it gives others an opportunity to exploit?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    I am suggesting that perhaps Oxbridge has failed to supply an adequate number of places to the market. It also makes it difficult for other players to fill the gap.
    If Camford was 10 times the size would you be happy? I doubt it.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    If Camford was 10 times the size would you be happy? I doubt it.
    You have included the answer in your question ('Camford'). I would be happy if the rules for Oxford and Cambridge (separate, competing universities) were the same as for other separate, competing universities. Would you?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    You have included the answer in your question ('Camford'. I would be happy if the rules for Oxford and Cambridge (separate, competing universities) were the same as for other separate, competing universities. Would you?
    You stated your issue is that Cambridge and Oxford fail to offer enough places. So if they offered more places would you be happy? How many more?

    As Good bloke said - they physically can't offer many more anyway.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    That is what jneill's article is saying.
    The article also suggests that limiting the number of university applications that can be made is anti-competitive. Agree?

    (Original post by Pars12)
    Of the 18,000 they interview 9,000 for the 3,000 places. My guess is that MOST of those 9,000 are capable of studying there. Otherwise there would be no point in inviting them. That is an under-supply of places.
    They interview people to find the best people. There is no magic "standard" - if they had 10,000 places then 60,000 would apply and they'd be interviewing 30,000. Would they all be "capable too"?

    This is the real world. They work with the best of what they are given.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    You stated your issue is that Cambridge and Oxford fail to offer enough places. So if they offered more places would you be happy? How many more?

    As Good bloke said - they physically can't offer many more anyway.
    By having this special arrangement at UCAS they are operating a form of cartel and distorting the market at the top end. It's a question of whether you think that's ok.

    The Competition Act 1998 forbids it. It is definitely a cartel arrangement. The question is only whether higher education is legally a consumer market and therefore covered by the legislation.

    Barriers to entry and controls over the number of customers follow naturally from the fact that is is a cartel arrangement. I think you cannot have it both ways. You cannot have the cartel arrangement AND say it's a fair and open competition. It's one or the other. It's not for me to say what to do I just think you ought to tell it like it is.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    The article also suggests that limiting the number of university applications that can be made is anti-competitive. Agree?



    They interview people to find the best people. There is no magic "standard" - if they had 10,000 places then 60,000 would apply and they'd be interviewing 30,000. Would they all be "capable too"?

    This is the real world. They work with the best of what they are given.
    They do the best they can. The ones I have met at Oxford are trying really hard to ensure a fair result. Admittedly every person has a slightly different idea what "fair" is. The question was more whether the UCAS arrangement was a distortion to the market. This sort of arrangement is illegal under the Competition Act 1998. So should that apply?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    They do the best they can. The ones I have met at Oxford are trying really hard to ensure a fair result. Admittedly every person has a slightly different idea what "fair" is. The question was more whether the UCAS arrangement was a distortion to the market. This sort of arrangement is illegal under the Competition Act 1998. So should that apply?
    It was a response to you saying that there are not enough spaces at Oxbridge and your idea that everyone who is interviewed deserves a place. You have not responded to that.

    You have also not responded to my question about whether limiting choices to 5 is anti-competitive. In your opinion, should candidates be able to apply to an unlimited number of universities?

    But to answer your question: It is clearly, clearly not a distortion in the market. Its like Tesco saying that customers are only allowed to shop at either their extra or express stores not both. It reduces their ability to compete and leaves more customers for their rivals. The other supermarkets are free to do the same thing and its not going to register on any regulator's radar. This is a complete non-issue.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Barriers to entry and controls over the number of customers follow naturally from the fact that is is a cartel arrangement. I think you cannot have it both ways. You cannot have the cartel arrangement AND say it's a fair and open competition. It's one or the other. It's not for me to say what to do I just think you ought to tell it like it is.
    Yet, while this entry arrangement has operated, (a) literally dozens of new institutions have come into the market - barrier to entry, I think not; and (b) only about 6,000 students per year go to Camford - they obviously don't have much market share, so there seems to be plenty of competition.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    It was a response to you saying that there are not enough spaces at Oxbridge and your idea that everyone who is interviewed deserves a place. You have not responded to that.

    Yes, I did. I quoted Oxford University who said that it was a difficult process because they had a larger number of outstanding candidates than the number of places they could offer. I think I have quoted this more than once.

    You have also not responded to my question about whether limiting choices to 5 is anti-competitive. In your opinion, should candidates be able to apply to an unlimited number of universities?

    I honestly think I have responded more to your/jneill/good bloke points than any of you have to mine. My answer to this one would be that for the consumertwo choices are better than one, three choices are better than two, four choices are better than three, etc. This continues ad infinitum/ ad nauseam but the marginal improvement is less each time. The number of 5 has presumably been chosen because the 6th choice doesn't add much (in UCAS's opinion - again I have no idea but let us assume that UCAS knows its customers). This is not at all the same as saying that you can only choose Oxbridge or Camford. That decision really was NOT made for the benefit of the consumer.[/QUOTE]


    But to answer your question: It is clearly, clearly not a distortion in the market. Its like Tesco saying that customers are only allowed to shop at either their extra or express stores not both. It reduces their ability to compete and leaves more customers for their rivals. The other supermarkets are free to do the same thing and its not going to register on any regulator's radar. This is a complete non-issue.
    Tesco extra and express stores are THE SAME SUPPLIER. Oxford and Cambridge ARE MEANT TO BE IN COMPETITION. Your example confuses brand proliferation with the operation of a cartel. There are significant differences e.g. one is legal and the other one isn't.

    If there is a major distortion of the market how can you say there is a non-issue? If there is not a major distortion of the market how can you say there would be chaos if you removed it? You can't have it both ways.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Oxford and Cambridge ARE MEANT TO BE IN COMPETITION. Your example confuses brand proliferation with the operation of a cartel. There are significant differences e.g. one is legal and the other one isn't.
    As has been said to you before - Camford are in direct competition WITH EACH OTHER (as well as the other universities). Applicants have to choose between them before making any other choices.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Yet, while this entry arrangement has operated, (a) literally dozens of new institutions have come into the market - barrier to entry, I think not; and (b) only about 6,000 students per year go to Camford - they obviously don't have much market share, so there seems to be plenty of competition.
    (a) Are you talking about the polytechnics and other institutions that are now universities? These are not new and the reason for the change was to remove the barriers between the second and the third divisions. Barrier to entry, yes, I think it probably was.

    (b) I'm having a real problem following your point here. I don't see how a low market share implies plenty of competition. Can you explain this one?
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    (Original post by jneill)
    As has been said to you before - Camford are in direct competition WITH EACH OTHER (as well as the other universities). Applicants have to choose between them before making any other choices.
    Would applicants like to apply to oxford and cambridge in the same year if they could?

    I think a lot of them would tbh

    IMO you're on a hiding to nothing arguing that it's not restricting consumer choice - the only hope is arguing for a compelling public interest in allowing it to continue.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    As has been said to you before - Camford are in direct competition WITH EACH OTHER (as well as the other universities). Applicants have to choose between them before making any other choices.
    As has been said to you before, the reason for forcing applicants to choose between Camford and Oxbridge on the UCAS form is to save these two universities the administrative expense of having to fight each other over the same candidates through UCAS. There is no benefit to the applicants.

    This gives them an advantage over the other top universities in the top segment of the market. This is the operation of a cartel. It helps to maintain a system where for the top sector of the market Oxbridge is 'success' and anything else is 'failure'. Is that the sort of system you want to sign up to?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    (b) I'm having a real problem following your point here. I don't see how a low market share implies plenty of competition. Can you explain this one?
    Surely it is obvious? If a single supplier has a low market share it indicates that there are plenty of other suppliers and that the supplier is not in a dominant position. You were the one who compared this to a marketplace.

    In the case of Oxford and Cambridge, the consumer does get to make a choice, anyway, by selecting which one he applies for. Oxford has lost forever the chance of recruiting anyone who selects Cambridge, even before it has a chance to expose that candidate to its selection process.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Of the 18,000 they interview 9,000 for the 3,000 places. My guess is that MOST of those 9,000 are capable of studying there. Otherwise there would be no point in inviting them. That is an under-supply of places.
    Letting more people in lowers the value of an Oxbridge degree. An "under-supply" of places is good.
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    (Original post by StrangeBanana)
    Letting more people in lowers the value of an Oxbridge degree. An "under-supply" of places is good.
    Good for whom?
 
 
 
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