MPs to review massive increase in unconditional offers being given to university applicants
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Handing out unconditional offers might be a tactic by universities to secure students tuition fees - money which they get a subsidy of - MPs claim as they announce they are set to conduct a review into them. Unconditional offers have a reputation for being a rarity amongst university applicants, but figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) reveal that they have been given out more frequently in recent years. In 2013, 18-year-olds across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received 2,985 unconditional offers, however, by 2017 that number had increased significantly to 51,615. The government has now said it will continue monitoring these figures in order to reflect on whether this increase in unconditional offers is having a negative impact. Robert Halfon, Conservative chair of the Education Select Committee, says they are "doing a value-for-money inquiry into universities and higher education", which includes looking at unconditional offers. Explaining the possible reasons behind the increase in these type of offers he said, "I think that the universities want the courses filled; they get the public subsidy from the loan. I think that's why they are making these unconditional offers and why they've increased so greatly". Unconditional offers have been a source of controversy for many years with some critics saying they can cause students to become idle with their revision during exam periods, as students who are given them have the safety of knowing they have a secure place at university, no matter the outcome of their results.