A Quality Education Is Affordable; Headlines Warning That [Pounds Sterling]9,000 a Year Fees Will Price Students out of University Should Not Deter Pupils from Taking a Degree. at London Met, Courses Start at [Pounds Sterling]4,500 a Year and Yet Students Go on to Earn More Than the Average Graduate. by Niki Chesworth

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

A Quality Education Is Affordable; Headlines Warning That [Pounds Sterling]9,000 a Year Fees Will Price Students out of University Should Not Deter Pupils from Taking a Degree. at London Met, Courses Start at [Pounds Sterling]4,500 a Year and Yet Students Go on to Earn More Than the Average Graduate. by Niki Chesworth


Byline: Niki Chesworth

TODAY is National Student Finance Day, and following last week's student demonstrations, the focus will be on the issue of rising tuition fees.

However, with a recent survey showing that many do not understand how the new student finance scheme will work, today will also be a chance to address some of the myths and misunderstandings about fees and loans in order that prospective students can make an informed choice.

One of the main misconceptions being addressed is that tuition fees will rise to [pounds sterling]9,000 a year for all degrees.

A good quality education does not have to cost this much and can start at [pounds sterling]4,500 a year -- even in London.

London Metropolitan University, known as London Met, has been ahead of the curve in anticipating the changes to student finance.

"Universities have to be seen as offering students good value," says Malcolm Gillies, vice chancellor of London Met. "We hope to have an intake of 5,000 students at the start of the 2012 academic year and these students want an affordable, quality education.

"Degrees do not all need to cost [pounds sterling]9,000 a year. So we have examined the costs of teaching each degree and charge variable fees depending on the course."

A DEGREE OF DIFFERENCE

London Met had already devised a new strategic plan to provide a good-value, quality education with student learning at its forefront, before the student finance changes were announced.

"Our forward-thinking was welltimed, as the fundamental reform of London Met means we now offer only the courses for which there is real demand," adds Gillies. "We moved from 577 courses to 160 at the undergraduate level, which gave us the opportunity to ensure they were all providing the most up-to-date education.

It means all our courses are now ones that students want to study and that they are directly relevant to the current employment environment."

IMPROVING LEARNING

London Met stresses that a more affordable degree does not come at the expense of the quality of education.

"We have managed to keep our fees as affordable as possible but at the same time have increased our teaching year from around 24 weeks to the international benchmark of 30 weeks," adds Gillies. "It means that we will provide students with an average of 300 hours per year of direct contact."

Earlier this year, London Met received the highest accolade in a review by the Quality Assurance Agency, the independent body that conducts rigorous assessments of universities and colleges in the UK every five years.

EMPLOYABILITY IS KEY

"The other significant change is that we now place more of an emphasis on employability," continues Gillies.

"Everyone has seen the headlines about the number of graduates looking for work, so we have reformed our undergraduate curriculum completely to put employability at its heart."

Students are helped to find placements, volunteering opportunities and work experience. …

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A Quality Education Is Affordable; Headlines Warning That [Pounds Sterling]9,000 a Year Fees Will Price Students out of University Should Not Deter Pupils from Taking a Degree. at London Met, Courses Start at [Pounds Sterling]4,500 a Year and Yet Students Go on to Earn More Than the Average Graduate. by Niki Chesworth
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