THE Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester said there were no changes to how students were admitted into the university this year, amid reports of other universities making more unconditional offers and lowering grade requirements.

Reports in the national press suggest that the number of unconditional offers by universities is on the increase due to competition for undergraduates following the removal of limits on student numbers in 2015 and due to a four per cent fall in the number of undergraduate applications nationally.

But Acting Head of Marketing and Student Recruitment at the RAU, Deaglan McArdle, said that the Cirencester university saw a five per cent increase in applicants and that the number of unconditional offers given to applicants remained “relatively flat” this year.

He explained that unconditional offers were only given to students who already received their qualifications and that the university “merely stuck to this policy for the current year”.

Following the release of A-Level results last Thursday, which saw students across the country find out whether or not they were admitted into their chosen universities, Mr McArdle also clarified that the university “did not drop any requirements due to the A-Level reforms”.

Instead, students who achieved lower than expected results were looked at on an individual basis to see if an alternative offer could be made.

Mr McArdle said: “We have a range of foundation degrees with top up routes for which students can be accepted onto should they miss their original grade offering.

“So as a result we don’t need to drop grade requirements for our degree level programmes, instead we can have conversations with students who have received lower than expected results about putting them onto alternative courses.”

Speaking of the increase in the number of applicants, Mr McArdle said it showed the university was “becoming more popular as an institution”.

He said: “Being a small institution, we can be an attractive option as we offer smaller class sizes and more contact hours, which students are looking for.

“In terms of expected numbers, enrolment isn’t until the end of September but we are confident that the university will see an increase in its undergraduate intake this year.

“We have have also been out a lot more in the local community, engaging with local students with the aim of increasing awareness of a local university and working with a number of local schools to raise aspirations amongst students less likely to progress to university.”