Russell Group admitting students with CDD Watch

harrysbar
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Some of the leading Russell Group unis such as Leeds, Sheffield, Southampton and Queen Mary's are offering foundation courses in Clearing for people with grades as low as CDD.

The courses are charged at the full £9,250 tuition fees, whereas a cheaper alternative for students (and taxpayers) would have been for them to retake their A levels before reapplying to uni the following year, or to do an Access course instead.

The number of degrees with Foundation years has grown enormously in the last 5 years and are obviously appealing for students desperate to get into a top uni. But are they always a good idea?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...rades-low-cdd/
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999tigger
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Some of the leading Russell Group unis such as Leeds, Sheffield, Southampton and Queen Mary's are offering foundation courses in Clearing for people with grades as low as CDD.

The courses are charged at the full £9,250 tuition fees, whereas a cheaper alternative for students (and taxpayers) would have been for them to retake their A levels before reapplying to uni the following year, or to do an Access course instead.

The number of degrees with Foundation years has grown enormously in the last 5 years and are obviously appealing for students desperate to get into a top uni. But are they always a good idea?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...rades-low-cdd/
In most cases I suggest avoiding foundation and suggest resits or access as an alternative. Slightly more tempting if its RG, but I would be concerned why I got CDD in the first place, the extra cost, but more importantly the impact on my limited student loan entitlement.

I wasnt really invested in this thread and I couldnt get past the paywall, but I dont think the unis are doing anything wrong.
They get potential students and if they dont make the grade at the end of it, then they dont get through and onto the main degree. There are pluses for a foundation year, but only for certain people in certain situations.

I am answering threads on a regular basis where the choice of foundation year has really messed people up because they are so keen to go to uni and have no patience. They have flunked or they dont like the degree and want to change but dont have enough finance etc.

Students who flunk their A levels need to start figuring out a plan B and that should mean considering all the options:
Job, resit, retake, Access. All these are a lot cheaper methods to increase study skills and test whether you have what it takes for degree level study.

I do think its a shame A level students are thrown on the scrap heap and its so expensive in most cases to resit.
They ought to have 10-20 test centres across the country where you can get a loan to resit exams only. Alternatively sanction some existing test centres. It is unfair to expect a 19 year old to pay many hundreds or low thousands of £ to resit.
Last edited by 999tigger; 1 week ago
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She-Ra
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They're a revenue stream for universities. Although they say that they're for students who come from poor-performing schools and deprived areas they're essentially creaming off capable applicants who would achieve a place at other reputable universities and do just as well, perhaps better.

They cost £9250 and the student comes away with no formal qualification, just entry into first year. They also have the additional cost of accommodation so you're looking at £18k+ when considering all living expenses.

If universities genuinely cared about students in these areas they would offer something much more affordable or consider offering it for free like access to HE. Why should students with less pay so much more for their education? It's extremely unfair.

It's also worth noting that by accepting students with these grades via a foundation year it makes no difference to their league table placing because foundation years are not counted when it comes to average entry grades. It's all a game.
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Guru Jason
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Ngl when read the title, I though CDD was some sort of disability or disorder like a variant on OCD or something.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by She-Ra)
They're a revenue stream for universities. Although they say that they're for students who come from poor-performing schools and deprived areas they're essentially creaming off capable applicants who would achieve a place at other reputable universities and do just as well, perhaps better.



It's also worth noting that by accepting students with these grades via a foundation year it makes no difference to their league table placing because foundation years are not counted when it comes to average entry grades. It's all a game.
They're not all aimed at students from poor - performing schools or deprived areas, although I know some are. Had not realised about the league table aspect, that is interesting
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She-Ra
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(Original post by harrysbar)
They're not all aimed at students from poor - performing schools or deprived areas, although I know some are. Had not realised about the league table aspect, that is interesting
I completely agree with you. Not everyone who does a foundation year is from that background, but, challenge anyone in the university sector and that is their fallback position.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Guru Jason)
Ngl when read the title, I though CDD was some sort of disability or disorder like a variant on OCD or something.
Were you wondering if you could fake it?
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Guru Jason
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Were you wondering if you could fake it?
Nah, I've done my time at uni many years ago now.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Some of the leading Russell Group unis such as Leeds, Sheffield, Southampton and Queen Mary's are offering foundation courses in Clearing for people with grades as low as CDD.

The courses are charged at the full £9,250 tuition fees, whereas a cheaper alternative for students (and taxpayers) would have been for them to retake their A levels before reapplying to uni the following year, or to do an Access course instead.

The number of degrees with Foundation years has grown enormously in the last 5 years and are obviously appealing for students desperate to get into a top uni. But are they always a good idea?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...rades-low-cdd/
Not all schools are willing to take people back to retake - its a funding problem. Some A levels are not easy to study privately. e.g. those with coursework/lab components.
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gr8wizard10
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uni's are businesses bud
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Moments
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It’s all well and good, but I think this lower threshold should only apply to certain subjects.

People getting CDD with an ambition for a career in the arts should really be encouraged to get out there and stuck into it, because I’m not entirely sure what benefit they’d get out of an additional 4 years of self-motivated education. You can tell a large number want to go, simply to avoid being an adult for a while longer.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by gr8wizard10)
uni's are businesses bud
Yes it's buyer beware, but I want students to be aware of that too
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Not all schools are willing to take people back to retake - its a funding problem. Some A levels are not easy to study privately. e.g. those with coursework/lab components.
That's true in some cases and foundation courses can also be a good idea where applicants want to do a Science or Enginnering degree for example, but lack the right A levels. I'm not against all foundation courses but where people are simply using them to get into a "better" uni for the same subject, they might be better off choosing a uni that they can get into without needing to do one, saving themselves both time and the extra debt
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Muttley79
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(Original post by harrysbar)
That's true in some cases and foundation courses can also be a good idea where applicants want to do a Science or Enginnering degree for example, but lack the right A levels. I'm not against all foundation courses but where people are simply using them to get into a "better" uni for the same subject, they might be better off choosing a uni that they can get into without needing to do one, saving themselves both time and the extra debt
I agree but wanted to point out how much more difficult it is getting to retake. Some unis also don't like A levels taken over three years.
There is a snobbishness about some non-RG unis which are actually better for some degrees particularly if there is a relevant year in industry; a good degree from a 'lesser' uni can put you in a better position job-wise..
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SarcAndSpark
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Just as a general FYI for anyone thinking of doing a foundation year- it's really important to clarify with the uni if passing the year will guarantee admission onto the course you want to do.

In the past, I have seen some people left in the unfortunate situation of having done a foundation year at a uni, and not be given a place on their preferred undergrad course. Because foundation degrees are uni specific and not externally accredited, it can then be tricky to find another uni willing to offer you a place.

Also, having used up a year of funding, it can then be very difficult for students to retake a year of their degree if needed.

In general, I do think retaking A-levels is the best option- A-levels can also have a bearing on your employment post uni. Many grad schemes filter by A-level grades as well as degree classification. If this isn't an option, because e.g. you've aged out of the retake system, then access courses can also be a good option.

IMO, it's definitely not worth doing a foundation year just to bump yourself up the uni rankings. I know lots of people with pretty successful careers who went to mid table unis, including (whisper it) ex-polys. The Russell Group is not the be all and end all!
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She-Ra
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Just as a general FYI for anyone thinking of doing a foundation year- it's really important to clarify with the uni if passing the year will guarantee admission onto the course you want to do.

In the past, I have seen some people left in the unfortunate situation of having done a foundation year at a uni, and not be given a place on their preferred undergrad course. Because foundation degrees are uni specific and not externally accredited, it can then be tricky to find another uni willing to offer you a place.

Also, having used up a year of funding, it can then be very difficult for students to retake a year of their degree if needed.

In general, I do think retaking A-levels is the best option- A-levels can also have a bearing on your employment post uni. Many grad schemes filter by A-level grades as well as degree classification. If this isn't an option, because e.g. you've aged out of the retake system, then access courses can also be a good option.

IMO, it's definitely not worth doing a foundation year just to bump yourself up the uni rankings. I know lots of people with pretty successful careers who went to mid table unis, including (whisper it) ex-polys. The Russell Group is not the be all and end all!
PRSOM
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PQ
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Other questions to ask before taking up the option of a Foundation Year:
- what % of students completed the year
- what % passed
- what % progressed onto the degree
- what % of those got a 1st or 2:1 compared to entrants with other qualifications
- what is the staff:student ratio
- is the foundation year taught by university staff or franchised out to a local college
- are you guaranteed a room in halls for your foundation year and your "first year" of your degree or will you be living out for freshers once you get onto your degree course
- are there any additional costs (field trips, equipment, software, books, lab kit etc) required for the foundation year

If you start a degree with foundation year and then choose to transfer after the foundation year to a new university then student finance consider that using your "gift" year of funding (they don't care that you're going from yr 0 to yr 1 - they just see it as going from first year of a 4 yr course to first year of a 3 year course). So if things don't go to plan on the new course and you're unhappy or need to repeat a year then you could end up finding £9k from your own pocket to cover the tuition fees for the second "extra" year.

Also note: a foundation YEAR (1 year extra added onto the start of a degree) is not the same thing as a foundation DEGREE (a 2 year HE qualification equivalent to an HND or the first 2 years of a 3 year BA/BSc) or an art and design foundation DIPLOMA (a 1 year FE course that is accepted by almost all universities for entry onto creative degrees). The costs and funding for all of these are very different. Make sure you know what you're committing to.
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She-Ra
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(Original post by PQ)
Other questions to ask before taking up the option of a Foundation Year:
- what % of students completed the year
- what % passed
- what % progressed onto the degree
- what % of those got a 1st or 2:1 compared to entrants with other qualifications
- what is the staff:student ratio
- is the foundation year taught by university staff or franchised out to a local college
- are you guaranteed a room in halls for your foundation year and your "first year" of your degree or will you be living out for freshers once you get onto your degree course
- are there any additional costs (field trips, equipment, software, books, lab kit etc) required for the foundation year

If you start a degree with foundation year and then choose to transfer after the foundation year to a new university then student finance consider that using your "gift" year of funding (they don't care that you're going from yr 0 to yr 1 - they just see it as going from first year of a 4 yr course to first year of a 3 year course). So if things don't go to plan on the new course and you're unhappy or need to repeat a year then you could end up finding £9k from your own pocket to cover the tuition fees for the second "extra" year.

Also note: a foundation YEAR (1 year extra added onto the start of a degree) is not the same thing as a foundation DEGREE (a 2 year HE qualification equivalent to an HND or the first 2 years of a 3 year BA/BSc) or an art and design foundation DIPLOMA (a 1 year FE course that is accepted by almost all universities for entry onto creative degrees). The costs and funding for all of these are very different. Make sure you know what you're committing to.
Thank you, I feel like we need to create an extended advice article about this :hat2:
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harrysbar
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I used the example of RG unis but Foundation Years are becoming more popular at all unis. Middlesex, for example, are asking for 48 UCAS points for UK/EU entry into their Foundation Year in Law & Social Sciences

https://www.mdx.ac.uk/courses/underg...ocial-sciences
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I used the example of RG unis but Foundation Years are becoming more popular at all unis. Middlesex, for example, are asking for 48 UCAS points for UK/EU entry into their Foundation Year in Law & Social Sciences

https://www.mdx.ac.uk/courses/underg...ocial-sciences
48 points is like DD, right?

In all honesty, I'm not sure a student achieving those grades (unless there are serious extenuating circumstances involved) would be best carrying on to an undergraduate degree. I'd be really interested to know how many of those students actually go on to complete a full undergraduate degree.

There are loads of great options for people out there- I'd be advising a student in that situation to have a look at apprenticeships and other, similar routes which can lead to great careers!
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