22 August 2014

A-Level Grades down, Asbestos in uni accommodation, PhD in chocolate…

A-level grades down*, uni places up

*Only slightly. A-level-GradesThe number of students who passed their A-levels has fallen by 0.1% to 98%. A* and A grades are also down by 0.3%, but 26% of students still achieved an A* or A grade. Not bad. Despite the slight dip, UCAS have reported that the amount of students who got in to their first choice uni is up 3%, with some universities accepting lower grades.  There are still 30,000 places left in clearing for students who have missed out on their university choices.

Our take: If you didn’t do as well as you wanted, don’t panic – this shows that universities are still desperate for students. A phone call to your chosen uni may help, or apply through clearing – you still have options and unis are still eager to take your money!

3k students in Wales slept in asbestos rooms

asbestosLast year, over 3,000 students in Wales unknowingly slept in bedrooms containing asbestos. The material was found in accommodation from Cardiff, Aberystwyth and the University of Wales. The unis did not inform students because they considered asbestos ‘low risk’. The British Lung Foundation has called the decision ‘reckless’.

Our take: Uni accommodation can be shocking, but to have asbestos is a step too far. The universities may not consider asbestos to be dangerous, but we bet the students weren’t happy to learn about it. Accommodation is expensive enough – you expect it to be safe and not contaminated with a potentially deadly chemical.

Uni accommodation costs ‘set up to fail’ students

accomm-uniThe Money Charity researched the cost of accommodation over the country and found that, unsurprisingly, it’s expensive. In some unis, however, they found that two thirds of the maintenance loan is taken up by accommodation. The charity has fears that students are forced to look at payday lenders and credit cards just to survive, and that the situation is teaching students bad money management. They want the Government to set up an official body to ensure that the maintenance loan is enough, with regular monitoring so students aren’t left struggling.

Our take: Anyone who has ever been to uni, or been around a student, knows that money can be very, very tight – especially with expensive accommodation (as shown in our student money survey). An official body could be a solution, but why not monitor the price that university accommodation charges?

Students offered well-paid alternatives to uni

ApprenticeshipWith the rise of university fees, it isn’t surprising that some school leavers are shunning university for other options. Companies such as Boots and Mondelez are offering students £15,000 apprenticeships – and National Grid’s engineer programme starts at an awesome £23,500 with your own car. Marks and Spencer’s management training scheme has reported that they have had 3,000 applications for just thirty places, showing how in demand these schemes are for school leavers.

Our take: It isn’t surprising that more students are opting to apply for these schemes, as they guarantee a well-paid job with no debts or early morning lectures. Students often think that, after A Levels, they must go to university to get a good job – but uni isn’t for everyone. However, these programmes may tempt students away from university and studying a subject that they are really interested in.

PhD in chocolate, anyone?

Chocolate-PhDGot at least a 2.1 in physics, chemistry, material science or engineering? Love chocolate? Good. Cambridge University are looking for a graduate to help find a way to keep chocolate solid in warm countries. Sounds deliciously Willy Wonka-ish.

Our take: You could tell all your friends that you are a real life Willy Wonka. Even better – you get paid for the privilege of ‘testing’ all the chocolate. NOMNOMNOM.

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