The benefits of part-time undergraduate study and UK higher education policy: a literature review

Bennion, Alice; Scesa, Anna and Williams, Ruth (2011). The benefits of part-time undergraduate study and UK higher education policy: a literature review. Higher Education Quarterly, 65(2) pp. 145–163.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2010.00482.x

Abstract

Part-time study in the UK is significant: nearly 40 per cent of higher education students study part-time.This article reports on a literature review that sought to understand the economic and social benefits of part-time study in the UK. It concludes that there are substantial and wide-ranging benefits from studying part-time. The article also aims to place the discussion in the current policy context by drawing attention to the fact that while part-time study is seen as important for increasing the global competitiveness of the UK economy, expansion of higher education has tended to focus on the young, full-time student; furthermore, part-time study is less generously resourced compared to full-time study. New policy pronouncements made in 2009 appear to recognise these policy contradictions, which state that most future growth will be in provision other than the full-time, 3-year undergraduate degree. Indeed, the Government’s independent review of fees has recognized that parity of funding is an issue and its recommendations on part-time study have been endorsed by the government.

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