The Sunday Express reports that tuition fees have helped send adult education into sharp decline as a raft of universities shut their “lifelong learning” departments.
The Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) says two thirds of university departments providing continuing education have closed within the past 20 years.
But the situation has worsened significantly in the past four years.
Professor Bill Jones, executive member of UALL, said: “The number of mature and part-time students at university has fallen by 40 per cent since 2012 when the £9,000 tuition fees were introduced.
“Once again university is becoming the preserve of 18 to 21-year-olds, effectively denying more mature students a second chance to access a university education.”
Universities at Birmingham, Bristol, Durham, Hull, Lancaster, Exeter and Manchester are among those to have scaled back or shut their lifelong learning provision.
And many other universities are about to follow suit, including the University of Leicester which recently revealed plans to close its Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning.
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