Leading Article: Paying a price

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The Independent Online

The universities are spitting about the Government's plans to fine them up to £500,000 for breaching access agreements reached as a condition for charging top-up fees . With some justification they believe it will give the director of the Office for Fair Admissions (Offa), the power to meddle in whom they admit to university. On the face of it, it looks as though he will be able to tell universities that they should offer bigger bursaries to increase the number of disadvantaged students they take or that they need to do more to attract this group. The universities are wise to secure more reassurances from the Government that admissions are the universities' business and theirs' alone.