Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Learners Left Behind

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Learners Left Behind

Article excerpt

It's understandable that in a competitive environment colleges would want to match the fees of the best universities - but they must be mindful of the impact on students

Providing opportunities for learners to reach their full potential is one of the core purposes of any college. And, increasingly, higher education is an integral part of what many colleges have to offer.

Colleges argue that their provision comes with smaller class sizes than at many universities, large amounts of contact time and access to teaching staff, as well as extensive support packages tailored to the college student cohort.

So why, then, would they not charge the same level of tuition fees as the local university? And one has to wonder if charging any less than a neighbouring HE institution might send a message to learners and the wider community that, somehow, something lesser was on offer there.

Alongside all this, most colleges do not enjoy the vast economies of scale that many universities can rely on. For some courses, charging higher fees is almost unavoidable - offering them simply comes at a higher cost.

And indeed, TES reveals today that the number of colleges charging £9,000 - currently the highest fee level - is set to increase further next year after doubling this year (see story, opposite). …

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