• SU Directory
  • Trading
  • NUS Extra


The Browne Review and Mature and Part-time Students

Lord Browne

The Independent Review into Higher Education Funding and Student Finance (the Browne Review) published its final report on 12 October 2010.

The Review's remit covered the funding of all undergraduate education, including part-time funding. The recommendations are highly controversial, with Browne proposing that there be no cap on fees for full-time students, and a withdrawal of 80 per cent of public funding for teaching in higher education.
The Liberal Democrats all signed a pledge to vote against higher tuition fees before the last election and will be under huge pressure not to break this pledge when the changes are debated in Parliament.
The Mature and Part-time students' campaign will take a strong interest in the campaign to fight for a fair funding system – and it is vital therefore, to understand the impact of the proposals on mature and part-time students.
Part-time students
There are some more welcome proposals where part-time students are concerned. The report recommends:
  • extending the full-time fee funding arrangements to part-time students, presumably (although this is not stated) on a pro-rata basis
  • reducing the intensity of study that qualifies for such support to 1/3 from the present 1/2 – in other words, providing support to courses which take up to three times as long as an equivalent full-time course
  • the number of years of part-time support will be extended to 9 years to take the extension of support into account
NUS supports providing equality of support to part-time courses, and such a move is long overdue.  However, as welcome as this move is, the impact of the proposals on part-time study is still a concern. This is principally because the fee regime as proposed would in all likelihood mean higher fees for part-time courses, as universities are no longer restricted by the fact students cannot access full funding, and because they must now replace lost public funds. 
In addition, a drop in employer support for part-time study might also be expected, as sponsorship will be deemed less necessary by bosses if loans are available.  
Opposing the draconian cuts to public funding of higher education must therefore be a priority if part-time students are not to be deterred by higher fee levels just as they are finally able to access full support for their education costs.
Mature students
Although none of the proposals are directed at mature students specifically, and there is no suggestion mature students would be treated differently, if adopted the proposals would nevertheless impact on mature students as a group.
As most part-time students are mature, the changes discussed above would of course be relevant – but the impact would be wider.
For example, as a group, mature students are more likely to be debt-averse and so the proposals to increase significantly student debt may have a negative impact on the participation of mature students. Moreover, the proposal to extend the write-off period for student loans from 25 to 30 year will mean some mature students could be paying off loans well into retirement (although the repayment threshold will rise to income over £21,000 per year).
These and other issues will be considered by the Mature and Part-time students committee, and they will feed into the NUS work on the issue. This includes the National Demonstration on 10 November in central London – and attendance from mature and part-time students will be vital in ensuring a successful demo, and in highlighting the specific impacts on our students.
Further information
For the full initial response to the Review from NUS, summarising the recommendations and the NUS click here.
For details of the NUS/UCU National Demonstration in London on 10 November 2010, where we will be protesting about the cuts to public funding to education and opposing the findings of the Browne Review, click here.


No comments have been made. Please log in to comment.
Some features of this site - including article viewing - require javascript enabled.
You must be logged in to view this article - Login now


Latest in campaigns

Ymateb i gyhoeddiad Llywodraeth Cymru ynglyn ag adolygiad addysg a hyfforddiant ôl-orfodol

Mae myfyrwyr yn mynnu i'r system Gymreig fod yn gynaliadwy, yn sefydlog ac yn gredadwy - a dylid croesawu unrhyw symud at sector fwy cyfundrefol sydd â mwy o gydweithredu ymysg pob math o addysg ôl-16

Response to the Welsh Government’s announcement on post-compulsory education and training review

Students demand sustainability, stability and credibility for the Welsh system - and any move towards a better-organised sector, with deeper collaboration between all forms of post-16 education, should be welcomed.

Ideas, experiences and challenges: Wise Wales Partnership for Wales Conference 2015

Wise Wales held its second annual Partnership for Wales Conference in Neath on Wednesday 3 June.

Syniadau, profiadau a heriau: Cynhadledd Partneriaeth i Gymru 2015

Cynhaliodd Wise Cymru ei ail Gynhadledd Partneriaeth i Gymru flynyddol yng Nghastell-nedd ddydd Mercher 3 Mehefin.

Statement on the future of the Welsh language community of Pantycelyn at Aberystwyth University

In light of recent developments at Aberystwyth University, the President of NUS Wales is calling on the university to invest in sustainable, high quality Welsh-medium student accommodation.

Datganiad ar ddyfodol cymuned Gymraeg Neuadd Pantycelyn ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth

Yn sgil datblygiadau diweddar ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth, mae Llywydd UCM Cymru yn galw ar y brifysgol i fuddsoddi mewn llety cyfrwng-Cymraeg cynaliadwy ac ansawdd uchel.


Latest news

Students’ Unions Local – Coming to a town near you!

We are delighted to inform you of our upcoming Students’ Union Local events. These specially designed one-day events have been created to meet the needs of officers and staff in students’ unions.

Charity fundraising partner Student Adventures goes into administration

It has come to our attention that recently that a charity fundraising partner used by many Students’ Unions, Student Adventures, has gone into liquidation and is ceasing to trade.

University students warned to stay vigilant amidst suspected mobile phone fraud

The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) has launched an investigation into a suspected mobile phone fraud targeting students at universities across the UK.

NUS criticises ‘Know Your Limits’ rape poster campaign

NUS has expressed huge concern today at the ‘Know Your Limits’ recent poster campaign to tackle rape. The poster points out that in a third of reported rapes the victim had been drinking and warns people to monitor their alcohol consumption. It is available for download on the Home Office website and has been sighted in NHS premises.

'You Never Know Your Luck' by Fred Jarvis

Former NUS President and General Secretary of NUT, Fred Jarvis, has published his memoirs reflecting on his lifelong campaigning for education. Find out where to buy here

NUS Awards 2014

Through expert training, support and knowledge students’ unions and NUS together continue to build a national movement that champions the rights of students – shaping the future of education and changing the communities we live in.


Most Read

Trending/Most Shared articles


Recent Comments