August 18, 2009

Educating Rita? A model to address inadequate state support for part-time students

By Anna Fazackerley, Julian Chant, Claire Callender & David Wilkinson.

One of the greatest and most glossed-over injustices in the English higher education system is the fact that part-time undergraduate students, who are older and from less traditional academic backgrounds, have a much worse deal than their full-time counterparts.

Despite making up nearly a third of undergraduates, part-time students get a fraction of the financial support received by full-time students. They have to pay their fees up front, they can’t take out a Government-supported loan, and their chances of securing any financial support are slim.

Educating Rita recommends that the government must invest £33 million to begin tackling the chronic underfunding of part-time students who currently receive a fraction of the support given to their younger full-time counterparts.

The report also proposes a partial solution to the crisis erupting this week over student places. With a boom in full-time university applications, but a drastic shortage of places, tens of thousands of eligible students will be unable to find a place when A-level results are published on Thursday.


Anna Fazackerley

Head of Arts & Culture and Education Units, 2008-2010

Julian Chant

Arts & Culture and Education Research Fellow, 2007-2009

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