3 July 2013

million+ call for return of part-time premium and high profile campaign targeted at mature students

Following the publication of the Annual Report of the Office of Fair Access for the 2012-13 academic year and the concerns expressed by its Director, Professor Les Ebdon, about the decline in participation of part-time and mature students, the university think-tank million+ has called on Ministers to restore the part-time premium for institutions and launch a high profile campaign to promote part-time study and opportunities for older people who did not go to university straight from school.

In 2012, million+ and the NUS published ‘Never too late to learn’, a research report which highlighted the extent to which numbers of mature students were often under-estimated, identified concerns about the impact of the new funding regimes in England on older students and outlined a series of recommendations based on a survey of 4000 mature students.

Professor Michael Gunn, Chair of the university think-tank million+ and Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University said:

“OFFA is right to highlight the dramatic downturn in demand from mature and part-time students”.

“One in three students now start university when they are over twenty one and many have high quality vocational qualifications and direct experience of the workplace”.

“There is a real risk of a downward spiral that will depress social mobility and lead to skills shortages in the long-term”.

“Ministers should shift the focus, restore the part-time premium and fund and support a high profile campaign to show that university is not just for younger people. This would provide support for institutions and publicity for the vital part that many universities play in offering higher education opportunities to older and part-time students which has too often been neglected”.

ENDS

Notes to Editors
1. For further information and interviews please contact Pam Tatlow on 020 7717 1655 or 07795645241
2.  million+ is a leading university think-tank; key findings including myths and realities about mature students from the million+ / NUS report Never too late to learn can be found here
3. OFFA’s 2012-13 Annual Report can be found here