The Student Loans Company 'spied on' the social media accounts of estranged students and withheld funding from some with no evidence of fraud, according to a Guardian exclusive.Written by John Wimperis on 8th August 2018
UCAS Drops Requirement for University Applicants to Declare Convictions
University applicants are no longer required to declare their criminal records as part of their applications, UCAS revealed on Tuesday.
The new system came into effect in May 2018. Before this date, applicants were asked to declare whether they have any relevant unspent criminal convictions. They were required to tick a box that alerted universities of their past convictions, but this process has now been removed.
Applicants with prior convictions had frequently been denied places on academic courses, regardless of whether they meet the entry criteria. This change will mean that one of the barriers facing students with prior convictions looking to acquire a degree has been removed.
UCAS has spent the past two years working with charities – such as the Prisoner’s Education Trust (PET), the Longford Trust, and Unlock – in order to better understand the problems that ex-prisoners face when looking to progress into higher education.
“We hope that this reaffirms that higher education is open to everyone
According to PET, university offers have been withdrawn at the last minute upon discovering students’ past criminal records. They hope that these changes will improve the chances of students with prior convictions being successful when applying to university.
Questions have been raised concerning the nature of these changes. UCAS have clearly stated that in applications for certain courses, such as nursing, students will still have to answer a mandatory question regarding past offences. However, for those applying to other degree courses, this is no longer required.
Ben Jordan, Senior Policy and Qualifications Manager, said: ‘UCAS is committed to ensuring that anyone who wants to study at university or college has the opportunity to apply, and isn’t put off by questions on the application’.
He continued, saying: ‘We hope that this reaffirms that higher education is open to everyone’.