The educational sector is going through a massive shake-up, which should benefit international students as prices for degree and masters courses are reduced by up to 40%.
Smaller higher education institutions in England would be able to gain university status, under proposals put forward by the government, the BBC reports this week.
The proposals suggest removing the current requirement for universities to have at least 4,000 students.
It would allow about 10 colleges, which already have their own degree-awarding powers, to become full UK universities.
The government wants to encourage more new providers into higher education to increase competition.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has begun a consultation on simplifying the regulatory systems for England’s universities.
In its White Paper last month it set out plans to encourage more innovation and to create a more diverse market in higher education, including widening the range of universities.
This consultation suggests changes which would make it easier for a group of smaller specialist colleges to become universities.
The use of the title of “university” has so far been tightly restricted.
Lowering the number of students required to be a university from 4,000 to 1,000 would allow about 10 more universities to be created, says the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
These are already awarding degrees to students, in specialist areas such as the arts or teacher training.
Among the type of institutions which would be able to become universities are Newman University College, Birmingham and University College Falmouth.
Peter Lutzeier, the principal of Newman University College, said allowing smaller institutions to become universities would help to tackle a “perception challenge”, where colleges have to explain their lack of full university status.
“This state of affairs is not only confusing for the public but is also something of an anachronism,” said Professor Lutzeier.
“As a university college, while we operate in the same way as universities – conferring our own degrees comparable in quality to those from full universities – we are currently prevented from using the universally-understood term of ‘university’ due to size alone,” he said.
Anne Carlisle, rector of University College Falmouth, said: “High quality, well respected small and specialist higher education institutions deserve to be recognised as full universities.”
Andy Westwood, chief executive of the GuildHE group of universities, welcomed the expansion of the use of the term university, as the regulations had been “unduly confusing to students and employers alike”. Source: BBC.
A spokesman from UK University Services (UKUS) thinks the shake-up will be good for consumers.
‘The move should open up the competition and choice for both resident and international students.
‘Last year 300,000 overseas students came to study in UK Universities and Colleges boosting the economy by £40 billion.
‘With recent 4 July Tier 4 student visa immigration rule changes hitting private colleges, students are increasingly turning to government owned providers in order to retain rights to work and sponsor their dependants.’
Following Tier changes on 4 July, students renewing their visas/leave to remain with private colleges after 4 July 2011 will no longer be allowed to work at all or sponsor their dependants.
Only students (applying or renewing visas after 4 July) who are studying at post graduate (level 7/Masters) level or above at a government university will be allowed to work and sponsor a dependant (on a dependant visa).
Prices slashed for degree courses
Thousands of students currently at private colleges are waking up to the fact that when they renew thier Tier 4 visas they are going to have to switch to a more expensive government university in order to support themselves whilst studying.
In response to market forces, Universities have come up with an innovative private partnership solution by opening off site campuses within college facilities where they can run degree and masters/MBA courses at more affordable prices.
Lectures are delivered by University staff, who also provide full on-site support for students. Universities are able to discount fees by up to 40% because the cost of running the course on a private campus are much lower.
For instance, one private campus in London is offering a 1 year top-up degree (a UK degree by taking only the final year) in Health Care Management for just £6100. The same course at the main campus (with the same lecturers but minus the gym, swimming pool and student bar) will cost almost £10000.
They are now offering masters and MBA’s starting at just £7000, and with the CAS coming from the university, the student retains the right to work and so do their dependants. For more information on degree and masters courses at discounted prices, contact UKUS email@example.com.
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