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It’s the finance, stupid! The decline of part-time higher education and what to do about it

  • 29 October 2015
  • By Nick Hillman
  • 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.


  1. Pam Tatlow says:

    Here’s what million+ has said:

    ‘The November Spending Review offers the Chancellor the opportunity to make a difference. Giving part-time students access to maintenance loans, improving support for those who want to return to study part-time for a second degree or other higher level qualifications and providing small employers with a tax credit to encourage their employees to study for professional and technical qualifications, would provide a lifeline that would benefit individuals and the economy in the long run.’

    More here: #Parttimematters

  2. Nalita James says:

    Higher Education Institutions have to get on board with this and be prepared to invest in lifelong learning and part-time education. Departments of Lifelong Learning that offer part-time education are in decline. Questions are constantly asked about the financial viability about part-time education – the delivery of part-time education in higher education is extremely bleak.

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