‘Cut-price degrees’ – are they the future?

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Financial business intelligence and education reforms mean that everything is changing all of the time – what do ‘cut-price degrees’ mean for the future?

 What’s the situation?

A recent study – written by a number of leading vice-chancellors – for the Institute for Public Policy Research has warned that 40% of student loans will never be repaid.

As a result, some educational establishments are looking at offering shorter or cheaper degree courses (including two-year and part-time courses). Some Further Education (FE) colleges are also considering offering degrees for just £5,000 a year.

What does it mean?

Some say it’s a smarter option for those who want to avoid debt – especially as many students’ finances are already in a dire state, something that is reflected by the National Union of Students fight to prevent campus payday loan adverts preying on vulnerable students.

On the other hand, some argue that these courses will never match the prestige of a full three-year degree from an established, respected university, which employers not only recognise on a CV, but value in employees.

Can cut-price degrees work?

Whilst they do offer better financial terms in hard economic times, the TES also reported recently that part-time FE students often rate their experience as poor, stating that support structures aren’t good enough.

A recent OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) report also highlighted the importance of traditional higher education degrees to long-term sustainable employment and resilience to economic downturns.

What does the future hold?

But the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says they should only be for vocational courses not academic ones.

So, the debate rages on…




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