Universities and Mature students: an overview

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Universities and Mature students: an overview

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1. Universities and Mature students: an overview Ruth Farwell Deian Hopkin

2. Applicants to UG courses 2001-5

5. SCOP Institutions

8. Entrants by ethnicity 2005

9. Mature as % of total: applicants and enrolled 2005

10. Growing divergence Applications from mature students increasing but acceptances falling: 2001: 74% of mature applicants accepted 2004: 68% “ “ This compares with 85% of school-age applicants accepted in 2004 Black applicants more likely to be mature and less likely to be accepted.

14. What universities are doing for mature students? Awareness raising: Adult Learners’ Week Aim Higher NIACE campaigns Stakeholder communications Special initiatives e.g. London Engineering Programme. Advisory services including web-based info Taster and Access courses Special programmes e.g. prisons, carer groups. From 2006: Special financial support e.g. relocation awards, child care support etc.

16. The financial issue for mature students Possibly greater financial obligations Lower financial advantage of having a degree because of a shorter-career Less opportunity to change direction or to gain additional qualification Competing in an ageist culture e.g many graduate programmes not available But maturity and experience offers their own advantages

17. Debt is the same for a mature student.

20. For students Challenges Opportunities Reduction in spending on adults through LSC funding Not all universities geared up to mature students: campus youth culture? Financial challenges Age-discrimination rife in employment New fee remission for 19-25 year olds Age-discrimination legislation late 2006 Improvements in financial support by DfES New types of curriculum offer greater work-based learning opportunities. Interaction of mature students with younger students may give new dynamic in classes

21. More diverse community Different demands Need for wider range of services with no additional resources Mature students often offer a rewarding teaching experience Leitch Review of skills may suggest greater focus on the older employee Reduction in 18 year olds needs to be factored in to long-term planning.

23. What more could we do? The language better targeted at mature students E.g. Aim Higher “guide to parents” but no mention of mature students as such Stop talking about mature students as “disadvantaged” More flexible curriculum arrangements? More realistic assessments of prospects Different financial arrangements? More work experience and job preparation. Greater dialogue with employers to demonstrate the advantage of mature students. A better understanding of the experience of mature students in terms of progression and achievement

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