Autumn. A season of change. One which brings a palette of warm colours to the trees, crisp, cooler temperatures to the air and darker evenings to ease us gently into winter.
Autumn. A season of decisions. Where students begin their UCAS applications and make important choices for their future education. A crucial time where both students and parents may be feeling the pressure.
And so with Oxbridge and Cambridge applications already submitted and others due early in the New Year we thought we would set the record straight with regards to the new UCAS Tariff to try and make assessing your eligibility for places and courses an easier task.
So what is the UCAS Tariff?
The UCAS Tariff is a points system which has been around since 2001. It first began when different types of qualifications for students aged 16-18, started to pop up, such as BTECs, making the path to higher education brilliantly varied but also rather complex! Having points to grade the different qualifications enabled universities and colleges to understand the value of, and make comparisons between, these qualifications, which all ultimately, led a student into HE.
The Tariff Review
As the range of qualifications, courses and routes by which a student can enter into HE has continued to widen a review of the Tariff was undertaken in 2012. It found, amongst other things, that students had little understanding about how the points were used in the admission process and admissions teams felt the Tariff did not give them enough information about qualifications to help them make selections for admissions to HE. Plus it was becoming less effective in scoring vocational, non-UK and the more unusual qualifications that have become more mainstream in the last few years.
So, really the Tariff was due a jazz up! It needed more clarity, more guidance and a more in depth scoring system to fit current educational offerings.
The New Ucas tariff
The new system will apply to courses from September 2017. UCAS worked with representatives from the HE sector, secondary education sector and with qualification regulators to develop the new Tariff.
The new system is now fairer as it uses qualification size (e.g. the number of guided learning hours) and grades to calculate the total points and it ensures more vocational and less traditional qualifications are scored so accessibility to HE is broad. Only level 3 regulated qualifications are covered by the new Tariff.
UCAS claims “The new Tariff provides a fair and more transparent process of allocating Tariff points across a wider range of qualifications and supports widening participation.”
The main difference with the new Tariff is the scale has changed so the scores are much lower than the old Tariff. E.g, an A-level grade A* is now 56 points, where it was 140 previously and a B grade is 40 points compared with 100 and so on. This doesn’t affect the ‘value’ of these qualifications in any way, you still need to work hard to get a good grade to meet HE entry requirements!
It is important to realise that universities and colleges have the choice in how they use the Tariff. Some may not consider it as part of their entry requirements and only request qualifications and grades and some may use a mixture of grades, subjects and Tariff points as their entry conditions. So you will need to check with individual HE placements about this.
Need to knows….
*UCAS has a new Tariff calculator where you can check your qualification scores.
*UCAS also have an extensive New Tariff qualifications list – UCAS where you can check numerous qualifications and subjects to understand what your score is.
*The AS qualification has been repositioned to 40 per cent of an A Level – on the old Tariff it was 50 per cent.
*For more information visit: www.ucas.com/new-tariff