Higher Education Policy

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  1. Admissions statement and principles
  2. Responsibility for admissions
  3. Admissions process and procedures
  4. Feedback and Complaints
  5. Policy approval and updating.
1. Admissions statement and principles

The City of Liverpool College is committed to ensure transparency, consistency and fairness through its admissions policy and procedures.


This Admissions Policy is aligned with the overall City of Liverpool College Higher Education Strategic Plan. It is informed by the mission and values of the College, the needs of it’s students and those of employers. It is also informed by access policies and policies of our collaborative partner institutions.


Applicants are chosen on merit and based on the recommendation outlined in Fair Admissions to Higher Education: Recommendations for Good Practice by the Admissions to Higher Education Steering Group. Admissions procedures are designed to allow all applicants equal opportunity to demonstrate achievements and potential.


The College is committed to recruit students from groups under-represented in higher education generally by:

  • Providing adequate support for students who might otherwise not be able to access higher education
  • Providing substantial advice and guidance to our own level 3 students to encourage them to progress to higher education
  • Aiming outreach activities primarily at pupils studying in Merseyside area from which there is below average progression on to higher education

Admissions to HE policy is based on our widening participation statement and access agreement, and is guided by the principles outlined by the Admissions Policies: Guidance for higher education providers, SPA, August 2014 and by the Quality Assurance Agency’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Chapter B2: Admissions (2014). The processes for admissions vary for different groups of students but this policy covers all routes for admission and aims to be fair to all of them.


The College will operate procedures that are fair to all applicants regardless of age, background, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, pregnancy or maternity and compliant with relevant equality legislation. Policies and procedures will be equality impact assessed and reviewed annually The City of Liverpool College actively promote equality of opportunity, set out in a range of legislative and statutory instruments.

2. Responsibility for admissions

Admissions standards, requirements, procedures, policies and decisions. Ensuring that this policy and its integrated procedures for the administration of the admissions process are adhered to are the responsibility of the HE Senior Leadership Team and The Director of Learning.


Head of School for Higher Education is responsible for ensuring that the policy and procedures are in line with the requirements of the QAA Code of Practice on Admissions and OFFA’s requirements for Access Agreements. The Head of School is also responsible for ensuring that the staff making decisions on the suitability of applicants for acceptance on to programmes are suitably qualified and trained to make those decisions. Staff require continuous professional development to ensure they access the latest information on the types of qualifications currently being undertaken by potential applicants and to ensure that staff only make offers that the applicants can fulfil by successful completion of their current course of study.


The Heads of School in which the higher education provision lies are responsible for ensuring that qualified academic staff are in place to accept students on to programmes on the basis of their confirmed qualifications, and for ensuring that information provided to potential students is up-to-date and accurate.

3. Admissions process and procedures

Potential applicants may contact the College and obtain information on courses via the website, the course information centre or in person via the relevant programme tutor. In addition, the College holds a number of open days where applicants meet the specialist tutors and programme leaders. Detailed course information is available from the College and for the full time programmes on the UCAS websites. The College produces prospectuses that contain programme information together with information on fees and funding and guidance and support available.

Prospectuses may be downloaded from the College website. The website is checked regularly for compliance to related accessibility guidelines.


Entry requirements for each programme are set out in validation documentation and College advertising literature. The entry requirements would detail the expected number of UCAS points a student is required to have to secure a place. Entry requirements may be changed for individual students who can demonstrate alternative qualifications or experience that leads tutors to believe that they will be successful on the programme. A student may be awarded credit for prior learning (certified, experiential or uncertified), towards the requirements of a named award up to 50% of the total credit requirements for that award. Students entering a validated qualification level 6 ‘top-up’ programme, comprising 120 credits and designed to build on a lower credit bearing award, may not enter the programme with credit. Credit for prior learning (certified, experiential or uncertified) is not allowed at, the final stage (credit level 6) of a Bachelor’s Degree or for the thesis/dissertation module.

Where PSRB (professional statutory regulatory bodies) may have specific requirements for admission to a course (e.g. social work would need to have an enhance DBS check) these will be clearly stated.


The College makes decisions on how many offers should be made on full time programmes based on the College’s targets or HEFCE agreed allocation. Targets for recruitment on each programme are based on the number of places available.


The College’s Admissions team is based in the Learning Exchange. They are responsible for processing applications via UCAS (full-time programmes) and via the College Applications Management System (part-time programmes). It is their responsibility to enter accurate data onto the College’s database and pass applications to academic staff for decisions. They will, when requested, arrange interviews or auditions for students in consultation with academic staff.


Once academic staff have made a decision it is the responsibility of the Admissions team to convey this decision to the student either directly or through UCAS. Students may be made an unconditional offer, a conditional offer or rejected. If academic staff reject a student they must make clear to the admissions team the grounds on which they have made this decision and, where appropriate, suggest an alternative course of study that an applicant might wish to undertake.


The Admissions Team will keep a copy of all rejections, together with the reasons for rejection for a period of 12 months from the date of the decision. This will enable the College to give any unsuccessful candidate any explanation of how the decision was reached. Staff must be aware that they may be challenged by unsuccessful applicants.


Head of School for Higher Education will monitor unsuccessful applications to ensure equality and consistency and to establish whether, wherever possible, staff have discussed alternative provision with them.


Students are advised to monitor their application via UCAS’ Track. If they do not meet the terms of the offer they may still be accepted onto the programme they applied for or another programme. If they are not accepted they will be able to apply to other institutions via clearing.


Applicants may apply and ask for their place to be deferred for one year. They may do this when they apply or in the year leading up to their start date. If they wish to defer again they need to reapply via UCAS.


All formal correspondence must be sent through the Admissions Team.


In the event of an offer being made for a course still in the pre-validation stage any advertising materials and any offers must make this clear.


Where a programme does not run or where there are significant changes to a programme between the offer being made and the student commencing the programme the Admissions team will advise the applicant of this and the options available to them.


Admission to a programme is based on the academic judgement that the student should be able to fulfil the learning outcomes, with support, if appropriate. Students with disabilities or learning difficulties are strongly urged to disclose these during the application process so that suitable support arrangements can be made before the student starts the course. The College may require further information to determine the level of support needs. Where required, reasonable adjustments will be made to assessment methods used in the selection process to ensure the provision of equal opportunities for applicants with disabilities or learning difficulties is met.


Where entrance to a programme is dependent upon demonstrating a competency standard then the standard must be:

  • Appropriate and necessary
  • Applied equally to disabled and non-disabled applicants
  • A proportional means to achieving a legitimate aim

Where a student does not disclose until close to the start of the programme, and the requisite support cannot be put in place in time, the College may defer the offer of a place:

  • Where an applicant declares a criminal conviction on an application form the decision on whether to offer them a place rests with the Head of School.
  • Applicants are responsible for providing the College with accurate information on which it will make admissions decisions. Any student found to have provided false information or to have plagiarised their personal statement are at risk of having an offer withdrawn or being asked to leave the programme.
  • Students from the European Economic Area and European Union are free to travel and work in the UK without restrictions and will be considered for entry on to programmes if they satisfy the entry requirements of the course.
  • Students from outside of the EU or EEA will need to obtain a Student Visa via the UK Border Agency. They will need to have English language skills appropriate to the course, both to assure admissions staff of their suitability for the course and to support their visa application.
  • A student who takes up a place with the College will receive joining instructions that includes an invitation to enrolment, guidelines for students and ways to travel to the College. In the first couple of weeks of the programme they will undergo a formal induction process that will cover student welfare, personal tutorial support, learning support services, library services and study skills.
4. Feedback and Complaints

An applicant who is not satisfied with the way in which the College has dealt with their application may complain using the College’s complaints procedure available on the College website.

The College’s complaints procedure applies to both HE and FE students. In addition, all higher education students who are in receipt of student support funding, have access to the same dispute resolution arrangements as any other student on a higher education programme in England. The

Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s (OIA) is the Government’s designated operator for handling unresolved student complaints in higher education, it provides an independent, transparent complaints handling scheme to review student complaints and academic appeals.

More information about the OIA can be found on its website www.oiahe.org.uk

5. Policy approval and updating and other relevant policies

Accreditation of prior learning policy provides more detail regarding RPL, RPEL and the evaluation process that the teaching team undertake when mapping of learning outcomes.

This policy should be kept under periodic review that is informed by analysis of recruitment by age, ethnicity and disability and the progression, retention and completion rates of students on different programmes and with different entry profiles.