Government Backs 2 Year Degrees to Lower Tuition Fees

The British Government looks set to pave the way for more intensive courses that would make it overall cheaper and faster for students to gain a degree. This will be in the form of accelerated degrees where the content of a course will be condensed down to 2 years from the typical 3 years.

This can, in practice, work by having 2 years of 45 teaching weeks instead of 3 years of 30 teaching weeks. Making the student not only able to save on tuition fees, but also on a year of living costs.

The government is currently looking to allow a higher yearly fee to accommodate for the higher expenses that will follow with the increased yearly cost of teaching staff and to open up for more competition between providers.

Sam Gyimah, Minister for Higher Education, stated:

“It is therefore my intention, subject to Parliamentary approval, to lay Regulations as soon as possible that will set a 20% increase in the annual standard fee cap chargeable for an accelerated degree.”

Even with this increase in the yearly student fee for students, each student, who opts for a 2 year course, can still look forward to be saving 20% in total of the tuition fee compared to a 3 year course of the same type.

The intensified courses are highly marketed towards the mature students, those who are ambitious, the students in an economic pin or those who have other life commitments.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, believes:

Accelerated degrees offer students from all backgrounds the possibility of studying over a shorter period of time, at a lower overall cost compared with a standard three-year course. For many, they are likely to be an attractive option.”

It is not just students that will benefit from this option; companies can benefit from this policy by gaining access to talented workers a year earlier than they are able to at the moment. This will also help re-educate current employees to adapt new skills for the companies that need to stay competitive.

This is particularly attractive in manufacturing. Verity Davidge, Head of Education and Skills Policy at EEF, The Manufacturers, suggested:

“With manufacturing moving at pace through investment in new digital technologies and techniques, these new channels of learning are both timely and needed to ensure current and new employees are able to gain the skills they need for the future.”

Since students will be paying less overall, they will be taking less debt, which will convert into a lower cost to the public purse of higher education, benefiting both the current taxpayers and future ones.

The Department for Education, states that accelerated courses will fulfill the same level of education as that of a 3 year course: “Accelerated degrees meet exactly the same quality assurance measures as standard degrees and will provide exactly the same level of qualification.”

Universities and students will not be forced to provide or enroll on any accelerated course if they find that it would not suit them.

Laus D. Jørgensen

Image: [Jooinn]