Academia,  UK Politics

Huge cuts in FE places likely result of new fees regime

According to this UCU briefing, students over 24 who wish to take A Levels and access courses will now have to pay the full fee, rather than, as now, just pay half.  The government estimates this will lead to a whopping 45% reduction in student numbers.  Such students, if they then go on from FE to HE, are typically extremely motivated and often have clearer career plans (teaching is a popular choice) than their younger peers.  Many will be the first in their family to attend university.

NUS vice-president (further education) Toni Pearce comments on the negative impact these changes will bring:

‘The government’s own official prediction is that 100,000 learners will no longer be learning if this scheme goes ahead, and nearly two-thirds of those are set to be women.

‘Ministers are slamming the door in the faces of adults who want to return to learning and gain basic skills, despite the evidence showing that it would put off many of those who want to study A-levels, apprenticeships or access courses to higher education.

‘In the midst of a double-dip recession and with the spectre of unemployment, we need opportunities to develop skills and find jobs rather than attempts to throw people on the scrap heap.’

I’ve just – slightly belatedly – taken my cue from Friday’s day of action (pdf), and written to my MP asking him to make a stand against these very unwelcome changes.