Durham University sent out emails to those students who’ve accepted places this year, offering them £5,000 to defer until 2022/23. The emails read as follows:
Hi [name withheld],
We’d like to offer you a further opportunity to defer starting your studies at Durham until the academic year 2022/23. If you make a successful request to defer we will give you a payment of £5,000.
This new offer is to help us manage the number of students who want to study at Durham, having excelled in their A-levels and other level 3 qualifications this year.
We can’t guarantee all deferral requests will be successful. Places are limited, and decisions will be based on balancing the cohort.
As the email says, Durham has accepted too many students this year – not because they’ve “excelled” but because 44.8% of A-levels were awarded A*/A this year, up from 38.5% last year and 25.2% (in England) in 2019. If Durham calibrated its offers based on last year’s results, more students than anticipated will have met the requirements, hence the glut.
This follows news earlier this month that Leeds was offering law and business students £10,000 and free accommodation to defer their places.
Yet more evidence that the disruption of the last 18 months has wreaked havoc in our education system – although for once the victims of this disruption are being offered financial compensation.