• HEPI number 79

Full-time student numbers were barely affected by the increase in undergraduate tuition fees in England from 2012. But part-time student numbers – which were already declining – tumbled fast. Ever since, fewer people have transformed their lives through part-time study and this is having a negative impact on the economy.

There has been a shortage of good ideas on how to tackle the problem. This collection of essays includes a wealth of information about what has happened and proposes numerous policy options for the future.

The decline is unlikely to be reversed without better financial support for part-time learners, but the chapters also highlight how better course design, more employer engagement and improved information could all be part of the solution too.