This section details:
- Examinations information for students in England
- Applications information for students applying to university in England, including UCAS and clearing
- Applying for student finance in England.
If you’re looking for information for students in one of the other UK nations or applying to another UK nation for university, please go here for more information.
Exams and next steps
The Government has agreed with the higher education sector that all students who achieved the required grades this year will be offered a place at their first choice university or college.
The Government has also removed the caps on numbers for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, meaning that if students have met the conditions of their offer to study, they should be able to take up their place this year where there is capacity, or be offered deferred place at their chosen university or higher education provider.
For further information see here
A' Level results day was on 13th August. You will have received your results from you school or college.
Ofqual has now announced that it is to award grades on the basis of what teachers submitted, and not the grades issued by Ofqual on 13th August. The switch to school or college assessment grades will apply to both AS and A levels and to the GCSE results which students will receive on 20th August.
You can read the full statement from the Ofqual here.
If your results are not what you expected, speak to your school or college. The deadline for appeals is 17th September 2020.
There will be an Autumn Exam series, for students who who want to try to improve their grade.
If you want to sit exams in the Autumn. Schools can arrange this with the financial support package announced by the Department for Education. It is worth remembering that this may mean a student is not able to start university this year. You should talk to your university provider if you are a student looking to sit exams and seek their advice. You can find out more about appeals and the Autumn exam series here.
A Levels and GCSEs
Estimated grades have been submitted by schools to their examination’s boards for A Levels and GCSEs. The final grades will now be those submitted by the school or college based on teacher views on what learners could have achieved had they sat their exams and other evidence.
Results day in England was on the 13th of August for AS and A levels and will be the 20th of August for GCSEs.
Vocational, technical and other general qualifications
Ofqual have stated that for vocational, technical and other general qualifications this year, grades will be based on the evidence of assignments, modules or class work carried out during the course, before the lockdown prevented students attending classes. This grading also applies to qualifications in Wales.
Grades for vocational, technical and other qualifications should have already been submitted to their examination body and will now be being assessed.
Please see this government guidance for full details regarding how vocational, technical and other general qualifications. will be awarded this year.
Applications and admissions
UCAS Track opened at 8am on Thursday 13th August.
If you received the results you needed, well done!
If, however, you did not get the grades you needed, or if you have changed your mind, there are options available to you.
You will be able to see if you are in clearing on your Track account. You will need to talk to your school or college adviser who can help with clearing options.
You can find out about Clearing and Clearing Plus here.
It may also be worth considering other options, such as Foundation Level Degrees, Higher National Diplomas or Higher National Certificates.
Examinations in the Autumn
There will be an Autumn Exam series, for student who were either unable to secure a calculated grade in the summer, or who want to try to improve their grade. It is worth remembering that this may mean you are not able to start university this year
You can find out more about appeals and the Autumn exam series here
You may want to consider an Apprenticeships; you can do an apprenticeship up to degree level. For more information look here, but, remember, as with any job, you will need to apply and go through an interview process. Make sure you research this option thoroughly.
Work and gap year options
You may want to find employment this year, and apply again next year. This can enhance your personal statement and your transferable skills. However, in the current climate, it is worth remembering that there are fewer jobs and more applicants than there were previously.
You may want to take a gap year. Again, you need to research this thoroughly, as there may well be travel limitations.
Please check the details of any courses you are considering or applying for on the university or college website. Courses due to start in autumn 2020 may be changed to involve some online delivery. Start dates and course content or structures may also change.
Universities and colleges are required to ensure that the following information is made available before Confirmation and Clearing in August:
- how much of a course is proposed to be delivered online or face-to-face, or a mix of both, if the balance between, lectures, seminars and self-learning has changed or if placements are affected.
- what support there will be in place for students to access any online learning
- any changes that may occur due public health guidance, such as changes to social distancing, and implications for provision, such as being unable to attend lectures at certain times or having to change living arrangements in student accommodation
- the terms and conditions for your course which should be clear
- how to access a clear and fair complaints process for the university or college
- cost of the course, including making clear if any discounts have been offered for the year in which adjustments will be made, and if the cost will increase to a ‘normal’ level thereafter
If you feel that you have not received the information you need from your university or college, you can:
- Complain to your university or college.
- Check the guidance provided by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
- You can also see if you can make a complaint through the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
- Notify the Office for Students, although note that this will only be used on an individual basis for monitoring and not to follow up any individual complaints
The Office for Students has published consumer rights guidance to ensure students applying to an English provider have all of the information they need. For more information see the Office for Students' Frequently Asked Questions.
Unconditional offers and choosing a university or college course
The pause on unconditional offer-making has now been lifted but universities and colleges are expected to act in the best interests of students in making offers. This includes refraining from large-scale use of unconditional offers and other practices which might lead to a student to make a decision against their own interests. There will be plenty of places available for applicants to choose from when making their applications and decisions. It is important that students consider all their options and offers and do not make impulsive decisions. You can find useful information on the Discover Uni website.
Applicants who receive an unconditional offer are always advised to consider whether this is the right university or college and course for them before they make any decision. It is important for applicants to explore and consider all their options. There will be plenty of courses to choose from, reflect on your choices this year. You can find more information on UCAS website.
Changes to Admissions in 2020
UCAS will email you regarding your application if there are any significant changes to it.
New enhanced clearing process for admissions: There will be an enhanced clearing process for admissions for 2020, called Clearing Plus, which will match students to universities and opportunities based on their achievements and course interests. If you exceed your predicted grades, Clearing Plus can suggest alternative courses with higher entry requirements. This is to help you to have more options. You will also have the opportunity to change your choice of provider/course, even if you are ‘placed’ at a provider and after you receive your grades.
Clearing 2020: Clearing for 2020 will open on the 6th of July.
All applications must be submitted to UCAS by 18:00 (UK time) on Monday the 21st of September. This is the final deadline for all courses with 2020 entry.
You must have added any Clearing choices in addition to any other uni and college applications in Track on UCAS by the 20th of October.
For up to date information on UCAS deadlines, see the UCAS website.
If you’re applying for Student Finance in England, you should apply for student finance as soon as possible. Although the deadline for applying has passed, the sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive your student finance. You should apply based on your first preference of university or college. There is no penalty if you withdraw or change your application later, for example, through Clearing.
The Student Loan Company have now announced measures for students who cannot currently attend their course in person. Students will receive their Maintenance Loan as intended at the start of the summer term regardless of a provider's teaching arrangements. Students will also be eligible for finance if they cannot be in the UK for their first term as long as they meet all other criteria for student finance. For more information on student finance, see the Student Loans Company Guidance.
Students with a disability or long-term health conditions should be encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowance as soon as possible. It currently takes approximately 14 weeks for applications to be processed so they need to apply now to ensure support is in place in time for the start of their course.
The quickest and easiest way to apply is via Student Finance England.
Student fees: the universities minister has said that no formal decision has been taken regarding student fees, but if courses are taught online and of high quality, and are courses which are fit for purpose, students would not get a discount on fees.
Information and guidance is available online on the gov.uk website.
Information is updated regularly at The Student Loans Company website.
If a student's household income has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, due to their parent(s) being furloughed, they should still apply for student finance. The CYI process is available and could lead to them being awarded more student finance. More can be found out on the Student Finance Website.
Starting university or college
Key messages for students starting or returning to university or college
Your university or college has worked hard to make your campus safe and many have come up with interesting ways to make your study and social activities like fresher’s week safe and enjoyable. The government has produced guidance for universities and colleges. Speak to your university or go to their website to find out what they’re doing.
If there is a local outbreak of Covid-19 your university or college will contact you to explain what you need to do.
If you feel unwell and are displaying COVID-symptoms you should get a test – call 119 or book online at gov.uk. It is important you alert the NHS so you can be tested and the virus traced accordingly.
Key Travel Messages and Content for Students
Plan ahead, and if you are using public transport to get to your university or college, please continue to follow the latest government guidance to ensure you are travelling safely. The government has released guidance regarding travel and transport, which is also helpful for your travel at the beginning and end of term.
Key Accommodation Messages and Content for Students
If you are living in halls of residence or HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and develop symptoms of coronavirus, you should self-isolate in your current accommodation. If a student has coronavirus symptoms, all residents in that household must isolate for 14 days.
Please see the governments' updated guidance for universities and colleges for more information.
As of Monday September 14th, new laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people have come into effect. However, this may well change in the very near future and you will need to ensure you are aware of all restrictions and laws regarding social gatherings.
Universities can welcome students back on campus but all social activities will need to comply with the latest guidance.
You will still be able to socialise with the same household in your student accommodation, even if your household exceeds six people. Check your university website or the government website for up to date information.
Every Mind Matters is a platform that has been created by Public Health England with tips and advice developed with experts and approved by the NHS.
Every Mind Matters gives simple and practical advice to manage and maintain mental health – from how to deal with stress and anxiety, to boosting mood or sleeping better. It will help spot the signs of common mental health conditions, give personalised practical self-care tips, and provide information on further support. There is also information available on steps to take to help other people.