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£14,000 tuition fees planned for shorter degree courses

Feb 24, 2017 by

Universities in England will be able to charge higher annual fees for shorter degree courses, under plans from the government.

Students will be able to get a degree in two years rather than three – and save a year’s living costs.

But universities will be able to charge more – and with fee increases in the pipeline, courses could cost more than £14,000 per year.

This would make annual fees in England higher than many US state universities.

The proposals, expected to be presented by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson, would encourage more flexibility over the length of time spent studying for an undergraduate degree.

There have been attempts to do this in the past – but there has been little financial incentive for universities to run fast-track degrees if the amount they receive in fees is also reduced.

More contact time?

Concerns have also been expressed about a two-tier university system – with better-off students able to pay for a full three-year experience.

The University and College Union said allowing institutions to offer more high-cost, shorter degrees might be good news for the for-profit companies circling UK higher education, but risked worsening ties with other countries.

It would also do little to open up the university experience to more students.

It called on the government to resist a “pile ’em high and teach ’em cheap” approach to students’ education.

The proposals would allow universities to sign students up for a two-year degree and receive the same fee income as they would get from a three-year course.

It would mean that students and their parents would face lower costs in accommodation and living expenses.

This would also respond to concerns about the lack of “contact time” for some university courses – with some students only receiving a few hours a week of seminars and lectures and long holidays in the summer and at Christmas.

A shorter time in university would also allow students to begin working at an earlier stage and repay their loan debts.

Flexibility

The government has already announced that it will allow fees to be increased to £9,250 per year – and then to continue to increase in line with inflation.

There are also plans to sell more of the loan debts owed by students to private investors – with the amount paid back also including up to 30 years of interest charges.

“Students are crying out for more flexible courses, modes of study which they can fit around work and life, shorter courses that enable them to get into and back into work more quickly, and courses that equip them with the skills that the modern workplace needs,” Mr Johnson will tell university leaders.

“I absolutely recognise that for many students the classic three-year residential model will remain the preferred option.

“But it clearly must not be the only option.”

The Russell Group of top universities said there were a number of reasons why full-time, three-year degree programmes are generally the most appropriate at research-intensive institutions.

“Careful consideration will be needed for how these accelerated courses are delivered so that they don’t negatively affect student learning or compromise the overall undergraduate experience,” said a spokesman.

Source: £14,000 tuition fees planned for shorter degree courses – BBC News

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