Rising tuition fees to blame for fall in part-time study
The sharp fall in students undertaking part-time education at England’s universities has been blamed on the rise in tuition fees and inflexible course structures. The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) says that a lack of part-time students is harming the economy and limiting the opportunities for people who may want to learn new skills. Between the years 2010/11 and 2014/15 the number of students studying part-time at university fell by around 143,000, largely because many would be part-time students do not qualify for government loans.
Hepi criticised the government of putting students off studying individual modules, as fees would have to be paid upfront and students would only qualify for a loan if they chose to study a full degree. Many students have been put off by this system as they often have to fund other things such as mortgages. The director of Hepi Nick Hillman emphasised that the fall in part-time students is “the single biggest problem facing higher education at the moment”, adding that the introduction of loans for individual modules would increase productivity and benefit the economy, as well as provide people with the chance to learn new skills.