Now students pay thousands, firsts are on the rise. Fancy that | Vanessa Thorpe | admin

For those who went to university a while ago, a remark might be in order if you won a Desmond or higher

Many proud academics must have spluttered over their morning coffee in the senior common room to learn that a first-class degree, once as rare as hen’s teeth, is now more akin to a hen’s egg: we can all have one for breakfast, it seems, if we can only be bothered to go out to collect it.

A survey by the Press Association has revealed that far from denoting scholarly excellence and a top-notch mind, in Britain a first is today a more likely outcome of a university education than a lower…

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