Advertisement

A Sustainable Higher Education Sector: The Place for Mature and Part-Time Students?

  • Suzanne Richardson
  • Jacqueline Stevenson
Chapter

Abstract

UK higher education continues to see a decline in the number of part-time, mature students. Much of the blame for the decline is attributed to a lack of financial support with many students unwilling to add to their existing financial commitments at a time of significantly declining employer sponsorship. These changes represent a profound social challenge when sustainable UK economic performance needs to be addressed through a boost in productivity, which in turn requires a highly educated workforce. Part-time study provides an invaluable route into higher education for many individuals. However, fitting study around other commitments makes it difficult for many students to fully participate or integrate. In this chapter, we chart the rise and fall of mature and part-time student provision across UK higher education before drawing on our own research to evidence the challenges facing institutions in helping them to develop a sense of belonging, fundamental to student retention and success. In doing so, we highlight the need for greater consideration of both individual academic and social needs at an institutional level to support the determination and high levels of motivation the students demonstrate. We end this chapter by positing a set of practical recommendations designed to support institutions working to support both mature and part-time students and, as a result, a more sustainable higher education sector.

Keywords

Higher education Part-time Mature UK economy Sense of belonging 

References

  1. Braxton, J. M., & Hirschy, A. S. (2004). Reconceptualising antecedents of social integration in student departure. In M. Yorke & B. Longden (Eds.), (2004) Retention and student success in higher education (pp. 89–102). Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Burke, P. J. (2012). The right to higher education. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Burke, P. J. (2004). Women accessing education: Subjectivity, policy and participation. Journal of Access, Policy and Practice, 1(2), 100–118.Google Scholar
  4. Callender, C. (2017) Part time student numbers collapse by 56% in five years. Available online at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/may/02/part-time-student-numbers-collapse-universities.
  5. Callender, C. and Mason, G. (2017) Does student loan debt deter Higher Education participation? New evidence from England. LLAKES Research Paper 58 Available online at http://www.llakes.ac.uk/sites/default/files/58.%20Callender%20and%20Mason.pdf.
  6. Conlon, G. and Halterbeck, M. (2015),Understanding the part-time RAB charge. In N. Hillman, (Ed.) (2015) It’s the finance, stupid! The decline of part-time higher education and what to do about it. Available online at http://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/part-time_web.pdf.
  7. Davies, P., Osbourne, M., & Williams, J. (2002). For me or not for me? That is the question: A study of mature students’ decision making and higher education (pp. 1–95). London: DfES.Google Scholar
  8. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, (2017) Building our Industrial Strategy. Available online at https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/strategy/industrial-strategy/supporting_documents/buildingourindustrialstrategygreenpaper.pdf
  9. Engineering UK (2017) The 2017 Engineering UK: the state of engineering report. Available online at https://www.engineeringuk.com/news-media/2017-engineering-uk-the-state-of-engineering-published/
  10. Evans, K. (2002). Taking control of their lives: Agency in young adult transitions in England and the new Germany. Journal of Youth Studies, 5(3), 245–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harvey, L., Drew, S., and Smith, M. (2006) The First Year Experience: a review of literature for the Higher Education Academy. HEA Haskins, T., Brown, K (2002) Entry routes to success: The relationship between the entry route and success of mature students in Higher Education: Liverpool Hope University College.Google Scholar
  12. Higher Education Funding Council for England (2006) Annual report and accounts 2005-06. London: TheStationery Office.Google Scholar
  13. Higher Education Statistics Agency (2017) Higher education student enrolments and qualifications obtained at higher education providers in the United Kingdom 2015/16. Available online at https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/12-01-2017/sfr242-student-enrolments-and-qualifications
  14. Hillman, N. (2015) Introduction, In N. Hillman, (Ed.) (2015) It’s the finance, stupid! The decline of part-time higher education and what to do about it. Available online at http://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/part-time_web.pdf
  15. Hurtado, S., and Carter, D.F. (1997) Effects of college transition and perceptions of campus racial climate on Latino college students’ sense of belonging. Sociology of Education, V 70 (4), p 324–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Independent Commission on Fees Report, (2014) The Sutton Trust: Improving Social Mobility for 20 years. Available online at https://www.suttontrust.com/research-paper/independent-commission-on-fees-report/
  17. Johnson, J. (2017) Delivering value for money for students and tax payers, part of Access to Higher Education and Higher Education participation. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jo-johnson-delivering-value-for-money-for-students-and-taxpayers
  18. Langa Rosado, D., & David, M. E. (2006). A massive university or a university for the masses? continuity and change in higher education in Spain and England. Journal of Education Policy, 21(3), 343–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lyons, J. (2011). An exploration into factors that impact upon the learning of students from non-traditional backgrounds. Accounting Education: An international journal, 15(3), 325–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. May, V. (2011). Self, belonging and social change. Sociology, 45(3), 363–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Million+ and National Union of Students. (2012) Never too late to learn: Mature students in higher education Million+/NUS. Available online at http://www.millionplus.ac.uk/documents/reports/Never_Too_Late_To_Learn_-_FINAL_REPORT.pdf . Accessed 7 July 2015.
  22. Nuñez, A.-M. (2009). A critical paradox? Predictors of Latino students’ sense of belonging in college. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 2(1), 48–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Office for National Statistics (2017) UK Labour Market: August 2017. Available online at https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/august2017
  24. Osterman, K. F. (2000). Students’ need for belonging in the school community. Review of Educational Research, 70(3), 323–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Perry, C., and Allard, A. (2003) Making the connections: transition experiences for first-year education students. Journal of Educational Inquiry, 4, 74–89.Google Scholar
  26. Read, B., Archer, L., & Leathwood, C. (2010). Challenging cultures? Student conceptions of ‘belonging’ and ‘isolation’ at a Post-1992 University. Studies in Higher Education, 28(3), 261–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Richardson, S. (2017) Understanding part-time, mature students’ ‘sense of belonging’ when studying higher education in the further education sector. EdD Thesis.Google Scholar
  28. Robbins, L. (1963). Higher education (the "Robbins report"). London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  29. Ross, A. (2001a). Higher education and social access: To the Robbins report. In L. Archer, M. Hutchings, & A. Ross (Eds.), Higher education and social class: Issues of exclusion and inclusion. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  30. Ross, A. (2001b). Access to higher education: Inclusion for the masses. In L. Archer, M. Hutchings, & A. Ross (Eds.), Higher education and social class: Issues of exclusion and inclusion. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  31. Rowley, J. (2005). Foundation degrees: A risky business? Quality Assurance in Education, 13(1), 6–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Strayhorn, T. L. (2012). College students’ sense of belonging, a key to educational success for all students. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Strayhorn, T. L. (2013). College students’ sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. The Review of Higher Education, 37(1), 119–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Thomas, L. (2002). Student retention in higher education: The role of institutional habitus. Journal of Education Policy, 17(4), 423–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thomas, L. (2012) Building student engagement and belonging in Higher Education at a time of change: final report from the What works? Student retention and success programme. Available at www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/retention/What_works_final_report . Accessed 15 July 2016.
  36. Trow, M. (1974). Problems in the transition from elite to mass higher education. In Policies for higher education (pp. 51–101). Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  37. Trow, M. (2005) reflections on the transition from elite to mass to universal access: Forms and Phases of HE inmodern societies since WWII. International Handbook of Higher Education.Google Scholar
  38. Universities, UK. (2013). The power of part-time, a review of part-time and mature higher education. London: Universities UK.Google Scholar
  39. Universities UK. (2015a). Supply and demand for higher level skills. London: Universities.Google Scholar
  40. Universities UK. (2015b). The higher education green paper, fulfilling our potential: Teaching excellence, social mobility student choice. London: Universities.Google Scholar
  41. Warren, D. (2002). Curriculum Design in a Context of widening participation in higher education. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 1(1), 85–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Richardson
    • 1
  • Jacqueline Stevenson
    • 2
  1. 1.Leeds Beckett University, Faculty of Arts, Environment and TechnologyLeedsUK
  2. 2.Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Institute of EducationSheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations