Higher Education

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 189–205 | Cite as

The importance of mature, part-time students to higher education in the U.K.

  • Christina Broomfield

Abstract

This paper assesses the contribution made by mature part-time students to the statistics on higher education. It shows that part-time numbers currently account for approximately 40% of total student numbers in the UK, 33% of university students, (mostly in the Open University) and 43% of the total in polytechnics and colleges, (1989–90 figures). The majority are mature people, over 25 years of age, who combine both education and employment. The principal change over the past ten years has been the increasing proportion of women, who now form more than 44% of the total number of students and 42% of the part-time total. A theoretical analysis is carried out, using the Human Capital model, which shows that part-time higher education might produce significant rates of return, both to the individual and society. It is noted that most of the research efforts in the UK, into the benefits of higher education, have concentrated on young, 18–21 year olds, who study full-time, and that current government policy is primarily concerned with improving the participation rate of this age group. This paper concludes that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a more thorough investigation of the costs and benefits of part-time study and suggests that there is considerable potential for expansion in this area.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Becker, G.S. (1964).Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, NBER.Google Scholar
  2. Berg, L., and Kyvik, S. (1992). ‘Part-time studying at Norwegian universities’,Higher Education: the International Journal of Higher Education and Education Planning 24(2), 213–223.Google Scholar
  3. Bourner, T., Hamed, M., Barnett, R., and Reynolds, A. (1988).Students on CNAA's part-time first degree courses, CNAA Development Services Publication 16.Google Scholar
  4. DES (1987).Higher Education Meeting the Challenge, White Paper, HMSO.Google Scholar
  5. DES (1988).Top Up Loans for Students, White Paper, HMSO.Google Scholar
  6. DES (1988).The Widening of Access to Higher Education, HMI Report.Google Scholar
  7. DES (1989).Education Statistics for the United Kingdom (1989 Edition), HMSO.Google Scholar
  8. DES (1991).Higher Education: A New Framework, White Paper, HMSO.Google Scholar
  9. DES (1992).Education Statistics for the United Kingdom (1991 Edition), HMSO.Google Scholar
  10. DES (1992).Student Numbers in Higher Education-Great Britain 1980 to 1990, HMSO.Google Scholar
  11. Elliot, R. (1986). ‘The age factor in average earnings’,Personnel Management January, 32–35.Google Scholar
  12. Finegold, D., and Soskice, D. (1988). ‘The failure of training in Britain: analysis and prescription’ inOxford Review of Economic Policy 4, 21–51.Google Scholar
  13. Hammermesh, D.S., and Rees, A.D. (1984).The Economics of Work and Pay, Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  14. Hollinshead, B., and Griffith, J. (1990).Mature Students: Marketing and Admissions Policy — Strategies for Polytechnics and Colleges, CNAA.Google Scholar
  15. McLeish, H. (1990).Who Pays for Skills, Labour Market Briefing, 3.Google Scholar
  16. Maddison, A. (1987). ‘Growth and slowdown in advanced capitalist economies’,Journal of Economic Literature 25.Google Scholar
  17. Mincer, J. (1974).Schooling, Experience and Earnings, NBER.Google Scholar
  18. Mincer, J., Polachek, S. (1974). ‘Family investment in human capital: Earnings of women’,Journal of Political Economy 82(2).Google Scholar
  19. Open University (1989).Open University Statistics 1987.Google Scholar
  20. Open University (1990).Open University Statistics 1988.Google Scholar
  21. Open University (1991).Open University Statistics 1989.Google Scholar
  22. Pearson, R., Pike, G., Gordon, A., and Weyman, C. (1990).How Many Graduates in the 21st Century? —The Choice is Yours, IMS.Google Scholar
  23. Perlman, R. (1988). ‘Education and training: an American perspective’Oxford Review of Economic Policy 4, 82–119.Google Scholar
  24. Redpath, B., Robus, N. (1989).Mature Students' Incomings and Outgoings, OPCS.Google Scholar
  25. Tight, M. (1991). Part-time Higher Education in Western Developed Countries’,European Journal of Education 26(1).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Broomfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Crewe & Alsager Facultythe Manchester Metropolitan UniversityCreweEngland

Personalised recommendations