A new report co-authored by Claire Callender, Professor of Higher Education, suggests that the government needs to invest £33 million to address the inadequate state support for part-time students.
The report, published by the think tank Policy Exchange, proposes a 'fairer model' of financial support for part-time undergraduates that includes:
- Parity on grant eligibility - To bring eligibility in line with full-time student support, students whose household income is up to £50,000 should be eligible for a tuition fee grant.
- Those who study at least 30% of an equivalent full-time degree (rather than at least 50%) should also be eligible.
The estimated cost of this is an additional £33 million and would mean roughly 60,000 more part-time undergraduate students would receive some financial support from the Government – more than double the number of students receiving support under the current system.
Part-time students now make up one-third of all undergraduates. But whereas all full-time students receive some financial support from the Government, it is estimated that 90% of part-time students receive nothing at all. Two-thirds also receive no support from an employer.
Claire Callender said: "If the Government is serious about promoting adult learning and widening access for non-traditional students it must do more to help part-time students with the costs of study. For too long state support for part-time undergraduate students has been drastically unfair – a staggering nine in ten students receive no financial support under current funding arrangements. At very little cost the Government could extend means-tested fee grants to an additional 60,000 students, more than double the existing number who receive support."