Edknight1
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I’ve been offered a conditional place for 2018/19 entry and have met the criteria/conditions, accepted the offer and received confirmation. However, I was emailed today saying they didn’t mean to offer me a place because of a clerical error.
I wondered what rights I have seeing as I’ve accepted the offer almost a week ago now. I don’t have any other choices so it’s high stakes for me!
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SarcAndSpark
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Initially, I would contact UCAS with detailed timeframes and copies of any emails you were sent by the university. Hopefully they can advise you further.

I believe universities can unfortunately do this, but it is seen as very poor practice, and if everything on your application is as it should be, UCAS may be able to offer some help.

I would also contact the university, politely in the first instance, explaining that you feel that you have been treated unfairly, and ask if they would be willing to offer an alternative course, for example.
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Edknight1
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Yeah I thought so unfortunately. I’m not applying through UCAS also, but I’ve emailed back anyway. Not looking good then it seems!
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MajorFader
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That is ridiculous, couldn’t imagine how you must have felt.

Call up the university tomorrow.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Edknight1)
Yeah I thought so unfortunately. I’m not applying through UCAS also, but I’ve emailed back anyway. Not looking good then it seems!
If you're not applying through UCAS, then I'd say you've got less comeback unfortunately- they don't look kindly on universities who make "clerical errors". Is this for a postgrad course?
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ruthf
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(Original post by Edknight1)
I’ve been offered a conditional place for 2018/19 entry and have met the criteria/conditions, accepted the offer and received confirmation. However, I was emailed today saying they didn’t mean to offer me a place because of a clerical error.
I wondered what rights I have seeing as I’ve accepted the offer almost a week ago now. I don’t have any other choices so it’s high stakes for me!
That is awful! Contact UCAS and the university. When you enter into a contract with them that is on them too, not just the offer holder. I’m not sure legally how it applies to things such as this where mistakes can happen, but it’s worth talking to them about it, at least to complain because that is absolutely awful that a university could be so disorganised that they made an offer they ‘didn’t mean to’!
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Edknight1
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Nah it’s undergrad. I mean I’ve heard talk of an accepted offer as being legally binding. Then again I’ve heard otherwise too. Just wondering how far I can take my appeal or is it just a case of keeping my fingers crossed for a reserve place.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by ruthflame57)
That is awful! Contact UCAS and the university. When you enter into a contract with them that is on them too, not just the offer holder. I’m not sure legally how it applies to things such as this where mistakes can happen, but it’s worth talking to them about it, at least to complain because that is absolutely awful that a university could be so disorganised that they made an offer they ‘didn’t mean to’!
I agree the university has behaved appallingly, but you do not usually have a contract with them until enrollment. If you apply through UCAS, they are the ones to hold each side to account, but there is still not a "contract" in the sense that contract law applies.
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Indigo&Violet
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My understanding of the CMA guidance is the Universities do enter into a contract when an offer is made and accepted


"When an offer is accepted, the HE provider and prospective student enter into a contract. To comply with both pieces of legislation you should ensure that:"


From: https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-for-providers


You are at a disadvantage without UCAS to act as a mediator. I would recommend an email to an Admissions Manager or similar. They may be hoping that you'll just accept their email and go away.
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username2718212
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When an offer is made to the applicant, and accepted, this forms a legally binding contract between the university and the applicant. I am unsure, however, whether in order to terminate the contract, the university can do this themselves, or they must seek agreement from the applicant in this scenario. What university have you applied to, so I can check their terms and conditions of admission for you.

#LawStudents
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Edknight1
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(Original post by Vitiate)
When an offer is made to the applicant, and accepted, this forms a legally binding contract between the university and the applicant. I am unsure, however, whether in order to terminate the contract, the university can do this themselves, or they must seek agreement from the applicant in this scenario. What university have you applied to, so I can check their terms and conditions of admission for you.

#LawStudents
It’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
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username2718212
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(Original post by Edknight1)
It’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Information is very hard to find on this website, isn't it...?
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username2718212
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(Original post by Edknight1)
It’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Did you receive any email before the acceptance of the offer that could indicate the terms and conditions of your offer?
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Edknight1
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(Original post by Vitiate)
Did you receive any email before the acceptance of the offer that could indicate the terms and conditions of your offer?
There was some terms and conditions but only on their online portal for accepting offers. I had a quick scan but unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to whether or not they’d retract it!
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username2718212
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(Original post by Edknight1)
There was some terms and conditions but only on their online portal for accepting offers. I had a quick scan but unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to whether or not they’d retract it!
Generally, the university can't retract the offer once it has been accepted; I was reading my own University's terms and conditions - which as you can see that the university can only terminate the contract after enrolment in the following scenarios:

"13.1 The University reserves the right to terminate the Contract and exclude you from the University:

13.1.1 if you willfully and persistently neglect your academic work to such an extent that there is no reasonable possibility of you having duly performed the work of the programme or being able to proceed to the next stage of the programme. You should also note that your progression on your programme and your final award are not guaranteed and are dependent upon your academic performance; and

13.1.2 for non-registration, for non-payment of programme fees, or for inadequate attendance or academic performance on your programme, in line with the relevant University policies and procedures.

13.2 If you have been excluded from the University, you will no longer be entitled to attend lectures, classes or seminars, use the University’s facilities or services, submit assessments, take tests/examinations, or proceed to any degree, diploma or other award of the University."

However, only the applicant/student has the option to cancel the contract before and after enrolment. Without the terms and conditions with your school, I am not 100% sure as to your rights to upholding the contract.
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Indigo&Violet
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(Original post by Edknight1)
There was some terms and conditions but only on their online portal for accepting offers. I had a quick scan but unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to whether or not they’d retract it!
They need to make the T&Cs available in a durable medium e.g. an email or a PDF. Only making them available on a website is a breach of CMA guidance in itself.
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username3121088
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Is it possible for you to go and see someone? I was in a similar situation, having had an unconditional offer retracted, and as the uni wasn't far, I went to speak with them. Long story short, I produced printed copies of all my communication with them, and they had to throw their hands up and admit they weren't actually allowed to do that. If you do go and see them, I'd recommend contacting them first, and working out who best to speak with. Hope it works out for you
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Indigo&Violet)
My understanding of the CMA guidance is the Universities do enter into a contract when an offer is made and accepted


"When an offer is accepted, the HE provider and prospective student enter into a contract. To comply with both pieces of legislation you should ensure that:"


From: https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-for-providers


You are at a disadvantage without UCAS to act as a mediator. I would recommend an email to an Admissions Manager or similar. They may be hoping that you'll just accept their email and go away.
I am afraid it is not as simple as all this. What I said three years ago was this:-

"This is an unresolved question.

The leading case on university (in fact the polytechnic admissions system) admissions Moran v University College, Salford

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...,d.d2k&cad=rja

adopts a simple contractual analysis.

Although virtually nothing has changed for main scheme applications since that time, the idea that an acceptance of an unconditional offer amounts to a contract and acceptance of a conditional offer creates a contract with a condition precedent, is now fraught with difficulty.

When Moran was decided, there was no Adjustment. Adjustment does not require any agreement to release by the university and occurs after one would naturally say that a conditional contract had become unconditional by satisfying A level grades. There are ways of bringing adjustment into a contractual analysis but they are clumsy.

More serious is the issue of financing. At the time of Moran, a student grant included a course fee element. Every educational authority paid course fees to every university. It very much looks like a grant to satisfy a contractual liability of the student. The university had no direct relationship with the Council except to cash the Council's cheque.

SFE has a much closer connection with the universities despite SFE supposedly being a lender to the student. You can't see that as a three way contract because SFE are not on the scene when the UCAS offer is accepted. So the contract between the student and the university entered into on acceptance would have to have different terms if the student subsequently applies for SFE funding. There would be different terms again if he applies for Welsh finding etc etc.

Taking Occam's Razor to all of this, it is a lot easier to say that there is no intention to create legal relations until a student enrols."

Think on this, for every student who has an offer of his place withdrawn, there would be a thousand who fail to turn up on enrollment day. Can the universities sue each of these non-students for loss of profit on their fees?
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Trinculo
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I am afraid it is not as simple as all this. What I said three years ago was this:-

"This is an unresolved question.

The leading case on university (in fact the polytechnic admissions system) admissions Moran v University College, Salford

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...,d.d2k&cad=rja

adopts a simple contractual analysis.

Although virtually nothing has changed for main scheme applications since that time, the idea that an acceptance of an unconditional offer amounts to a contract and acceptance of a conditional offer creates a contract with a condition precedent, is now fraught with difficulty.

When Moran was decided, there was no Adjustment. Adjustment does not require any agreement to release by the university and occurs after one would naturally say that a conditional contract had become unconditional by satisfying A level grades. There are ways of bringing adjustment into a contractual analysis but they are clumsy.

More serious is the issue of financing. At the time of Moran, a student grant included a course fee element. Every educational authority paid course fees to every university. It very much looks like a grant to satisfy a contractual liability of the student. The university had no direct relationship with the Council except to cash the Council's cheque.

SFE has a much closer connection with the universities despite SFE supposedly being a lender to the student. You can't see that as a three way contract because SFE are not on the scene when the UCAS offer is accepted. So the contract between the student and the university entered into on acceptance would have to have different terms if the student subsequently applies for SFE funding. There would be different terms again if he applies for Welsh finding etc etc.

Taking Occam's Razor to all of this, it is a lot easier to say that there is no intention to create legal relations until a student enrols."

Think on this, for every student who has an offer of his place withdrawn, there would be a thousand who fail to turn up on enrollment day. Can the universities sue each of these non-students for loss of profit on their fees?

Is it not more simple to say that for conditional offers, acceptance is enrolment? After all, it is clear that one can "release" oneself into clearing rather than take up a firm offer that has been met.

Or would it not be more analogous to relate UCAS offers to labour contracts? The university makes the offer conditional on the qualification of the candidate, who can accept the offer, but the university cannot compel performance?

I'd also add that the whole concept of UCAS offers being contracts has the unusual element of acceptance being complete, but secret - in the sense that a candidate can fulfil their conditions, but not know it. The candidate has AAA or whatever well before the point at which the offer is considered to be accepted - it's just that they do not have that knowledge.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Trinculo)
Is it not more simple to say that for conditional offers, acceptance is enrolment? After all, it is clear that one can "release" oneself into clearing rather than take up a firm offer that has been met.

Or would it not be more analogous to relate UCAS offers to labour contracts? The university makes the offer conditional on the qualification of the candidate, who can accept the offer, but the university cannot compel performance?

I'd also add that the whole concept of UCAS offers being contracts has the unusual element of acceptance being complete, but secret - in the sense that a candidate can fulfil their conditions, but not know it. The candidate has AAA or whatever well before the point at which the offer is considered to be accepted - it's just that they do not have that knowledge.
At least being released into clearing requires the participation of the accepted university. Adjustment doesn't require that and if there was a contract on satisfying the condition precedent of meeting an offer, UCASmight well be committing the tort of inducing breach of contract by providing the adjustment service at all.

The performance that the university seeks is not studying, but rather the payment of over £9K for each of three years.
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