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21st Sep 2018
Universities minister Jo Johnson has announced that students in England will be offered two-year degrees, saving students £5,500 in tuition fees.
Mr Johnson said he wants to "break the mould" of a system where three-year courses have "crowded out" more flexible ways of studying.
Undergraduate courses will be condensed in accelerated courses, with fees 20% less than a three-year course. Although the Office for Fair Access says the plan could help widen opportunities, Labour's shadow education secretary said there was no evidence it would help stop the huge drop in part-time students.
Labour's Angela Rayner also said that the condensed degrees would mean more expensive tuition fees. With costs at about £11,000 per year compared to the current £9,250.
However, along with overall tuition fee debt being reduced, students will save on a year's living costs and will be able to enter the jobs market a year earlier. The plan is also expected to be cheaper for government, which would see its tuition fee loans being reduced.
The idea of a two-year course is not new, but Mr Johnson is pushing to create more value for money after students revealed they thought they were not getting value from their tuition fees.
It's also hoped the more flexible approach will be attractive to mature students, whose numbers have been declining.
Mr Johnson said: "This policy will be particularly attractive for mature students who are looking to change their skills and adapt to changes in the economy - and who might want to go through higher education at a faster pace."
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