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Ex-offenders will no longer have to declare criminal record when applying to university

Sally Weale

Ex-offenders who want to study for a degree may find it easier in future to secure a place on a course after the university admissions service, Ucas, confirmed it was dropping its requirement for students to declare convictions when they apply.

Until now, former prisoners and those with unspent convictions have had to tick a criminal record disclosure box when applying to university. For many it acted as a deterrent to applying, while others have been refused a place despite satisfying all the academic requirements.

Ucas confirmed on Tuesday that the next round of applications, to begin studies in September 2019, would no longer include the box. Campaigners said the decision removed one of the barriers to ex-prisoners accessing higher education.

As many universities aim to widen participation, Ucas says it has been working for two years with charities including the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), the Longford Trust and Unlock on how to improve progression routes to university for ex-offenders.

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