UALL represents more than 80 higher education institutions in the delivery of lifelong learning and part-time provision. The Association supports the diverse engagement of universities across the sector with their wider communities, through leadership and advocacy in policy development, dissemination of information on policy, practice and funding through a lively programme of events, and through research and publication. Four out of ten undergraduate students study part-time, currently 500,000 students per year studying on a range of degree and sub degree level qualifications. Over 40% have a qualification below A level or no qualification.
In response to the consultation:
UALL would want to reinforce the additional costs and complexity involved in delivering part-time/flexible provision. Any plans to reduce premiums for part-time students are therefore likely to have a negative effect on the recruitment of part-time student. In Wales it would appear that HEFCW are looking to increase the part-time premium. We welcome HEFCE’s continued commitment to widening participation and social mobility and would want to see this linked with adult participation, allowing a wide range of non traditional learners to access higher education.
We would not want the way in which student number controls are managed to produce unintended outcomes and act as a disincentive to institutions to target part-time students and to instead focus on the traditional full time market. There is a risk of part-time programmes closing, leading to fewer opportunities for non traditional students.
Delaying student number controls on part-time provision might allow the part-time/mature market to settle down and level out, particularly at a time when the impact on part-time students of forthcoming major changes in fee levels and financial support is unknown an d potentially substantial.