New proposals for two-year accelerated degrees could leave students over £25,000 better off by doing two year degree courses have been announced today by the government.
Accelerated degrees offer the same qualifications and are quality-assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, usually two-year timespan making use of the long student holidays to increase the term dates.
This means when most students are completing their third year of study, an accelerated degree student will be starting work and getting a salary.
The proposals include a £5,500 saving for students in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course.
Providers already offering accelerated degrees report on more engaged students, positive employer feedback and the opportunity to attract a wider pool of applicants, including mature students who often want to retrain and enter the workplace more quickly.
New fee arrangements for these degrees are set to be in place by September 2019, subject to parliamentary approval.
Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:
For too long we have been stuck with a system that has increasingly focused on offering only one way of benefiting from higher education, via the classic three year degree programme.
The passage of the Higher Education and Research Act this year has finally enabled us to break the mould of this one-size-fits-all system so students have much more choice over how they learn.
Many will want to stick with the classic three year university experience, but for highly motivated students hungry for a faster pace of learning and a quicker route into or back into work, at lower overall cost, two year degrees will be well worth considering.
Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said.
Accelerated degrees are an attractive option for mature students who have missed out on the chance to go to university as a young person. Having often battled disadvantage, these students can thrive in higher education and I hope that now many more will be able to take up the life-changing opportunity to get a degree.
There has been historic cross-party support for this policy, from Shirley Williams in the 1960s, to Labour spokesman Lord Stevenson, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Lord Liddle and Lord Watson who all supported it in the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill.
There are a range of accelerated courses currently on offer – including Law, Accountancy and English – but the ambition is make more courses available across the widest possible range of subjects.