As the cost goes up, will the students go online?

The UK Higher Education sector is going through a little bit of a rough patch (to put it mildly). With the new coalition Government announcing wide-sweeping funding cuts across all public sectors it was only a matter of time before education, and Universities, came under the spot-light (hammer).

Whatever the outcome it looks highly likely that students will have to pay higher fees, whether it is directly while they study or through higher tax once they graduate. So, what will happen to University students, and the Universities?

Well, I think this is the perfect time for Universities to make their materials and programmes available in different formats; eLearning, Blended Learning, fully online, etc. Take a normal under graduate degree programme and get the Institution to buy-in to the prospect of reaching more students than the capped numbers will permit.

In July 2010 we saw BPP become “UK’s first new private sector university college for more than 30 years“.The BBC News article goes on saying;

“Expanding the private sector is seen by the government as a way of tackling the financial pressures and lack of places facing the university system. Private universities would add extra capacity, when hundreds of thousands of applicants are set to miss out on places this autumn.”

Not to mention the students who work while they study are paying tax and National Insurance, which is also gratefully received by HM Government Plc.

According to the OU article back in August 2010 “New generation of part-time learners focus on career progression” the OU has already noticed a shift in the profile of applicants to it’s courses;

“The Open University in Scotland has seen a 34.3% increase in 18-24 year old students [while] new young student numbers across the UK have increased by more than 2,200 in 09/08, making up 25.7% of the total intake at undergraduate level”

If I was looking to studying towards a degree while I work full- (or part-) time would I rather go somewhere like BPP or the Open University than a University who offers an online version of a traditional degree route? I might, I don’t know.

Many thanks to Jo Badge for the OU link.

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