Part time education take up in decline

Posted by Jessica Searle in Credit Crunch on 28 March 2013 - Jessica worked as a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile until 2013

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has recently released a new report – entitled “Impact of 2012 Reforms” - which has highlighted a sudden decrease in those entering into part-time higher education courses.

Although, for the first time, access to student loans has been given in order to cover tuition fees, there has been a sharp decline in the numbers of those taking up part-time undergraduate degrees. With this academic year recording a drop of approximately 30% upon the previous year, it has been confirmed that there are 105,000 fewer part-time students, equating to a drop of 40%, since 2010.

This drop has mainly been attributed to fears arising from the impact of higher tuition fees in England; in September 2012, maximum tuition fees having risen to £9,000 a year, an amount which many institutions have now adopted.

Those studying part-time courses have been found to often be more mature students and those from "non-traditional" [not affluent] backgrounds; one in four not having qualifications above GCSE, and 80% are in work. As such, this fall can be deemed to be affecting the government's aim on boosting skills and qualifications across the country’s population, especially in underprivileged areas.

Although loans have been introduced in order to cover the costs of the higher fees, the report says, “Feedback from universities and colleges suggests that many students and employers may not fully understand the new system, or are concerned about whether they will obtain sufficient value from the higher investment.”

"Students who might have found the money to pay the previous lower levels of fees may simply be unwilling to pay higher fees, despite the fact that loans are offered on the same terms as for full-time students."

It is not only England which has seen a decrease in the number of part-time students, but also Scotland, and to a lesser extent Wales also, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

In the past, many part-time students have had their tuition fees subsidised or paid entirely by their employer, however in these times of economic difficulty it is understood that the new maximum fees has made many firms reluctant to incur such costs. Professor Michael Gunn of Staffordshire University says that the drops in those in part-time study, and in mature students taking degrees is of "real concern for individuals, organisations and our society and economy".

With the release of this report the government says it focusing upon England maintaining its “world-class university sector”, with the reforms concentrated on the quality of courses, although also stating that it will monitor the drop in numbers.

In an apparently defensive stance, a spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills says, "There is a new focus on the quality of the student experience and the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds applying to university is at record levels.”

Continuing (seemingly at odds with the official figures and many student's opinions), "There are no financial barriers to higher education and according to the World Bank the system is exemplary."

Only time will tell if these admissions are true. If the numbers of part-time students continues to drop it has been clearly forecast to affect the growth of companies, as well as the social mobility of those from less privileged backgrounds, who are the main target of part-time education.

Jessica Searle is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile and has a degree in English Literature from the University of Exeter. You can contact her at

IMF concern for Britain and economic recovery

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is concerned that Britain’s reliance on credit cards and loans could stunt economic growth and put the past five years of recovery in jeopardy. The UK is currently on a warning list of countries that would be vulnerable to an economic crunch and the UK now has one of the highest household debt figures in the developed world.

Published on 17 Apr 2015 by Paul Anderson Riley

Full Article

UK economic growth rises to its highest rate since 2006

The UK economy expanded at a faster pace than expected last year, giving the coalition government a welcome boost ahead of May’s general election.

Published on 7 Apr 2015 by Simon Hadley

Full Article

UK inflation rate falls to zero in February

The rate of inflation hit 0% in February - the lowest reading since records began in 1988 according to the UK’s mechanism for recording inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). In January, the CPI recorded a reading of 0.3% and analysts expected it to drop to 0.1% in February. However, a continued supermarket price war, low oil prices and cheaper toys and books attributed to the greater than expected decrease.

Published on 26 Mar 2015 by Tom Line

Full Article

Wealthy people live longer, healthier lives

Women living in more wealthy areas can expect to see an additional healthy lifespan of almost 20 years to those living in deprived areas, research has found.

Published on 10 Mar 2015 by Kelly Luff

Full Article

Household income has returned to pre-recession levels

Household incomes are “finally strengthening” according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), in spite of the slowest recovery post-recession in recorded history.

Published on 6 Mar 2015 by Ben Tumilty

Full Article

UK wages predicted to rise above inflation

For the first time in eight years we’ll see our wages rise above inflation, according to a study. The Ernst & Young ITEM Club report has predicted that there will be a pick-up in pay growth to 1.9% in 2015, amid low inflation.

Published on 24 Feb 2015 by Kelly Luff

Full Article

Global debt rises to $199tn

Global debt has risen by $57tn since 2007, a new study has found. The McKinsey Global Institute research found that the current worldwide debt stands at $199tn, the equivalent of 286% of GDP. Government debts are the single biggest contributor of the increase, with government indebtedness increasing by $25tn.

Published on 9 Feb 2015 by Kelly Luff

Full Article

UK unemployment continues to fall

Unemployment across the UK has fallen to its lowest level for more than six years. In the three months of September through to November 2014 the number of people out of work fell by 58,000 to 1.91m. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the unemployment rate now stands at 5.8% whereas it was 7.1 % the same time last year.

Published on 23 Jan 2015 by Tom Line

Full Article

Credit unions as a viable alternative to payday lenders

A new cap on payday loans was introduced in the New Year, meaning that all short-term credit will now capped at a daily rate of interest at 0.8%. Default charges cannot exceed £15 and the maximum amount paid back will not exceed twice what was borrowed.

Published on 20 Jan 2015 by Rebecca Stains

Full Article

Falling inflation due to food and petrol prices

A fall in petrol prices and reducing supermarket bills has seen the UK inflation rate fall to the lowest level since records began in 1989. In November 2014 the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measured inflation at a rate of 1%, falling to half of this in December 2014 (0.5%). The CPI, the government’s preferred measure of inflation, has only been at 0.5% once before in May 2000. A fall to 0.7% was expected by economists but the fall to 0.5% took the city by surprise.

Published on 16 Jan 2015 by Paul Anderson Riley

Full Article


We are rated number 1 for customer service on