Part-time study in the UK is significant: nearly 40 per cent of higher education students study part-time. A review that sought to understand the economic and social benefits of part-time study in the UK concludes that there are substantial and wide-ranging benefits from studying part-time.
The review also aims to place the discussion in the current policy context by drawing attention to the fact that while part-time study is seen as important for increasing the global competitiveness of the UK economy, expansion of higher education in the UK has tended to focus on the young, full-time student; furthermore, part-time study is less generously resourced compared to full-time study.
Recent policy pronouncements in the UK appear to recognise these policy contradictions, which state that most future growth will be in provision other than the full-time, 3-year undergraduate degree. Indeed, the UK Government’s independent review of fees has recognized that parity of funding is an issue and its recommendations on increasing support for part-time study have been endorsed by the government.