GuildHE argues that, if implemented properly, allowing institutions to recruit ‘off-quota’ – not restricting numbers on students who do not take out a full student loan – could increase social mobility and allow more qualified people to go to university.

The higher education representative body has argued that off-quota does not need to give an unfair advantage to privileged students who can pay their fees upfront, but could be implemented to open up many more options to students from lower income backgrounds who might otherwise be put off by a large long term loan.

Speaking today, GuildHE CEO, Andy Westwood said,

“Providing off-quota places can be socially progressive. GuildHE institutions recruit many students who might be worried about the new arrangements, such as those from lower income backgrounds, those based at home, part-time and mature students. With the right incentives, this could lead to more innovative and flexible choices such as part-time, intensive and modular courses, with ‘pay as you go’ options. This could give students of all backgrounds a wider set of choices, including whether or not to take out a long term loan. It also gives universities more ways of responding to the needs of under-represented groups.

“GuildHE institutions saw a 9% increase in acceptances in 09/10 and the demand for places continues to grow. Off-quota flexibilities could ease the pressure on university places and allow more qualified people of every background to go to higher education.

“We urge the Government in its forthcoming White Paper to consider this as an opportunity to broaden choice, encourage social mobility and to incentivise innovative, supply side reform.”

For more information please contact:

Andy Westwood
Chief Executive Officer
07970 007142

Notes to Editors
1. GuildHE is a recognised higher education representative body. Its 32 members are among the most dynamic in the sector, and include public as well as private ‘for profit’ and ‘not for profit’ providers of HE, including specialist vocational institutions. 

2. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please visit:

3. Admission figures taken from the UCAS Provisional end of cycle report 2009/10.