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The power of part-time: review of part-time and mature higher education

Power of part-time report coverPart-time undergraduate higher education is an essential and substantial part of the higher education sector, and is important for skills, for society and for individuals.

There were nearly half a million people in the UK studying part-time at undergraduate level in 2011-12, making up 29% of the UK undergraduate population. Yet across the sector, numbers are declining.

Universities UK consulted widely to urgently review this concerning trend. The outcome is a report which identifies areas for immediate action, as well as the areas where more information is needed so that the right policy decisions can be made. 



Recommendations are put forward to a wide variety of stakeholders:

  • Higher education providers, government and funding councils, should inherently consider the needs of part-time and mature students.
  • There needs to be an urgent push at all levels – national, regional and local – to help potential students and employers understand the value of and opportunities for part-time higher education.
  • Universities and colleges should take bold steps to meet the needs of potential part-time students and improve the part-time student experience.
  • Employer-focused part-time higher education which meets the needs of the local economy should be boosted.
  • Further evidence and modelling is needed in order to support national policy decisions in England.
Universities UK is committed to further work in this area, and will work in partnership with others to champion this essential area of provision.

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Dan Hurley

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Universities UK

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Fiona Waye

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