Universities have been given the go-ahead to charge up to 20% more a year for shorter degree courses under Government plans – but students will be left with a smaller overall bill. ITV reports.
Students opting for accelerated degrees – which typically last two years – will pay a fifth (£5,500) less on tuition fees compared with peers taking traditional three-year courses, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
It follows a consultation on the proposal to roll out shorter university courses, creating more choice and flexibility for people wanting to study in higher education, particularly mature students.
For example, a two-year accelerated degree will condense three-year degrees with 30 weeks’ teaching into two years with 45 weeks’ teaching.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Accelerated degrees not only make it possible for the next generation of students to access higher education and the undeniable financial, academic and personal benefits it has to offer but drives the sector to offer dynamic choices that serve students’ needs.”
Chief executive of the Russell Group, which represents 24 UK universities, Dr Tim Bradshaw, said: “Greater choice for students is always good but I would caution ministers against ‘overpromising’.
“The Government’s own projection for the likely take-up of these degrees is modest and we actually hear many students calling for four-year degrees, for example, to spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad.”
Matt Waddup, head of policy and campaigns at the University and College Union, said: “Instead of gimmicks which risk undermining the international reputation of our higher education sector, the Government should focus on fixing the underlying problems with our current student finance system, which piles debts on students.”
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