IT’S HARDLY SURPRISING the latest admission figures reveal that the number of university applications has slowed down dramatically since the announcement of rising tuition fees. I don’t know how the government expect people to brush past the new £6000+ increase, especially as many universities are opting for the full £9000 a year price tag! Mid-January application deadline figures are still a plus on last year, but the lowest in recent years at only 5%. They show that it’s the older applicants, (21 years and above) driving the increase and school leavers aged 17-18 years are particularly poor. Younger people are now looking for alternative routes to higher education and who can blame them , high debt and low graduate job opportunities are far from appetising.
Instead, our younger generation are moving towards the online learning route as another way to achieve higher education qualifications. For many years, online learning (also referred to as distance learning or home study) has been associated with mature students, particularly rich and bored house wives needing a challenge. As technology has improved and society now relies heavily on the web, the popularity of online studying has surged.
The National Design Academy in Nottingham, have reported an increase in younger students attending open days and enquiring about their interior design distance learning courses. The appeal is that students have the flexibility over their study speed and fees are considerably lower than other universities. They also have greater opportunities to gain work experience, especially with the government extending work experience placements for 16 to 18 year olds from 2 to 6 weeks. Another factor is students don’t have to go through a UCAS application to enrol at The National Design Academy which means they can start a course sooner.
The support students receive when studying through distance learning is of much higher standard than in previous years. Gone are the days of sitting at the dining room table with your pack open and desperately trying to figure out how to make a spherical graph. The NDA create interactive presentations for each module written by tutors and industry professionals, live seminars , workshops, and so much more. They’re ahead of the game as many universities are only just starting to incorporate these virtual teaching aids into their course program and catch up with new technology.
Click onto the BBC news website and read more about the impact the spending cuts has already had on our higher education system.