Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Supply-Side Slump Linked to Part-Time Losses: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Supply-Side Slump Linked to Part-Time Losses: News

Article excerpt

The closure of hundreds of university courses is likely to have contributed to a dramatic slump in the number of part-time students, a study has indicated.

While last year's rise in tuition fees may partly explain the 33 per cent fall in part-time student entrants in England in 2012-13, the existence of fewer part-time courses over recent years has also played a role, according to a study by the Higher Education Policy Institute.

It is the demise of part-time provision within the Russell Group, where demand for courses should be strong, that suggests that much of the fall in numbers may be caused by supply-side problems, according to The Impact on Demand of the Government's Reforms of Higher Education, published on 3 October.

Only about 600 home part-time students were registered on degree courses at Russell Group universities in 2012-13 - almost a 50 per cent decline from the previous year, the report says.

"Given the importance of part-time provision to disadvantaged students, the withdrawal of part-time undergraduate courses seriously undermines the contribution of Russell Group institutions to widening participation," the report says.

As part-time students are less inclined to move around the country to study, they may struggle to find alternative courses if nearby provision is shut down, adds The Impact on Demand. …

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