We’re closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure we do all we can to help students with their applications.
Posted Mon 23 March 2020 - 09:52

Latest updates

17 August: Important update on A level grades

This afternoon examination regulators in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, announced that students who received A level or Welsh Bacc grades on 13 August 2020 that were lower than the ones predicted by their teachers, will now receive their Centre Assessed Grades.

We have emailed your students to make them aware of this, and would like to reassure you both that we are working closely with the awarding bodies to receive revised grades as quickly as possible to pass them on to universities and colleges. Please remind your students, any decisions made on their application is made by the individual university or college, not UCAS. If they already have a place, the university or college will not change this.

We will keep you updated on the situation and any next steps.

17 August: Important update on BTEC grades

In addition to announcements about changes to A level and Welsh Bacc grades, Pearson has made this statement about possible changes to BTEC grades.

As BTECs were not subject to the same statistical moderation process as A levels, they’re only expecting a very small number of grades to be adjusted, which will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

We have emailed BTEC students to make them aware of this, and are working closely with the awarding bodies to receive revised grades as quickly as possible, to pass on to universities and colleges. We will be in touch with an update as soon as possible.

11 August: Important update on SQA results

Today, Scotland’s Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister, John Swinney made an announcement in relation to SQA’s calculated grades. You can read the full announcement on gov.scot.

We have emailed students to make them aware and would like to reassure you both that we are working closely with the Scottish Government and SQA and will provide a further update once we have more information.

1 June: UCAT 2020 update

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), used in the selection process by the majority of UK University Medical and Dental Schools, have announced a choice of sitting the UCAT either online or at one of their test centres. For more information, read their full announcement.

4 May: Government support package for universities and students

The government has announced measures to protect students and universities during the coronavirus outbreak, including temporary student number controls for UK and EU entrants and additional places. The measures aim to allow students who want to go to university and meet their entry requirements to access higher education while protecting their interests. For more information, please take a look at the full announcement.

You can find all the latest updates from the exam regulators below:

Minister updates

On 22 May, UCAS sent a letter from the Minister for Higher Education, Diane Dodds MLA, to applicants in Northern Ireland. This included an update on the options available to students.

For your reference, here’s a copy of what we emailed them.

On 4 May, UCAS sent a letter from the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, to applicants in England. This included an update on Government support to students and universities. 

Here’s a copy of what we emailed them.

The Welsh Government also issued a policy statement outlining their ongoing support for universities and students.

Results days for 2020

A level results day has been confirmed, and SQA is working to ensure students receive their results by 4 August.

On 16 April, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced that A level results in England will be released on 13 August 2020, with GCSE results to follow on 20 August.

SQA is in regular discussion with UCAS and universities to help students progress on to the next stage of their education or employment, and are working to ensure they receive their results by 4 August.

We are expecting further announcements from other awarding bodies and nations in the coming weeks.

Supporting informed offer and decision-making

An update on the pause of unconditional offer-making.

To ensure your students’ best interests are safeguarded, all UK universities and colleges were recently asked to temporarily stop making unconditional offers to applicants who are yet to receive their results. This pause has now been lifted, but universities and colleges in the UK have been asked to continue to ensure students’ best interests remain protected. More information on how this applies in England can be found on the OfS website.

Changes to UCAS undergraduate reply deadlines

To give students more time to make decisions and reply to offers, we decided to make changes to upcoming undergraduate deadlines.

There is now only one undergraduate decision deadline for applicants who have received all their decisions from universities and colleges by 4 June. They will need to reply to any offers by 18:00 (UK time) on 18 June. All other undergraduate reply deadlines can be viewed here.

It’s important your students understand the different types of offers, and make the right decision for their future. Given the current circumstances, we know this decision may be harder than expected. Please remind them of the many resources that can help, including:

Students’ hard work will be rewarded and fairly recognised

The latest information on qualifications and the awarding of grades.

Following the cancellation of many exams and assessments this summer, you might have questions about how your students’ will be awarded grades. To help, we’re working closely with awarding organisations to bring you the latest updates which can be found below:

It’s essential for your students’ future education and careers that they receive a set of fair and justifiable examination results, and the processes being developed will do exactly that.

View information on other qualifications.

All applications will be treated fairly and consistently

Although the process for awarding grades may be different, the admissions process to confirm your students’ places will remain broadly similar to previous years.

We are working to ensure all applicants are treated fairly and consistently, as they are in any other year.

Here at UCAS, we will receive regulated exam results from awarding bodies and match these to your students’ applications, to send on to the universities and colleges that are holding offers for them*. Their chosen universities and colleges are expected to consider these grades in the same way as any other qualifications.

Our Clearing service will also be available as planned from 6 July, giving your students the flexibility to make choices throughout the rest of the year.

*View the list of results we receive and forward to universities and colleges.

Changes to UCAS events  

Following announcements of localised lockdowns, school transportation policies, and social distancing requirements, we are no longer running our autumn series of higher education exhibitions, including Create your Future.

However, students can now book their places at our virtual exhibitions. These subject-specific, online events are perfect for asking those all-important questions. With opportunities to speak to subject specialists and different universities and colleges, join topical seminars, and pick up digital prospectuses, they’re great way for your students to explore their options.

Book now

Read our advice on what students can expect at a virtual exhibition, and how they can prepare to take part in one.

Impact on EU and international applicants   

For 2021 entry applicants

Update 28 August: Northern Irish government has confirmed that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members will no longer be eligible for ‘home’ fee charges or financial support from Student Finance NI for courses starting from academic year 2021/22. View the full update.

Update 10 August: Kirsty Williams, MS, Minister for Education, Wales, has confirmed that EU students who begin a course of higher or further education in Wales on or after 1 August 2021 will not be eligible for support or, in the case of higher education courses, home fee status. View the full update.

Update 9 July: Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, announced details of the tuition fee arrangements for EU students starting a course in Scotland from the 2021-22 academic year. EU students will have to pay tuition fees from 2021/22. Note that EU students who have already started their studies, or who start this autumn, will not be affected. View the announcement.

Update 23 June: In a written statement yesterday, Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, announced that from August 2021 EU, other EEA, and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate, and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. This change will also apply to further education funding for those aged 19+, and funding for apprenticeships. View the full update.

For 2020 entry applicants

Update 19 June: The UK Government has recently announced temporary changes to the Tier 4 visa process to make it easier for international students affected by COVID-19 to obtain a visa for study in 2020/21. This announcement also confirms that international students starting their courses online in 2020 will be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route which will be introduced in 2021, as long as they enter the UK before 6 April 2021 to transition to on-campus study.

English language test centres may be temporarily closed, but some tests might be available online: 

Assessment arrangements and availability of results for international qualifications may also be subject to change. We recommend you contact awarding organisations for details of any potential changes. Below are links to websites of the several international awarding bodies:

We’ll continue to update information on ucas.com for students, including on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates page

How can I keep up-to-date?

We’ll continue to follow the latest official advice, in particular from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation, and update our information on ucas.com where relevant. 

If you are a UCAS registered centre, we will also continue to email you the latest updates along with advice on what it means for you and your students, so please keep an eye out for these.

How can my students keep up-to-date? 

We understand these are difficult and uncertain times for your students. If they are unsure what the recent announcements mean for their application, including any offers, they can find more information on the What does this mean for your application? page.

If applicants have been affected by recent announcements, we’ve emailed them to let them know. It’s really important they make sure they keep their email address up-to-date in Track, as this is the one we are using.

Please note, individual universities may also decide to get in touch with applicants to offer support and discuss any specific requirements.

Other qualifications

If any of your students’ qualifications aren’t listed, or you need more information, we recommend you contact the awarding organisations directly for the most up-to-date advice.

Related news