‘Fast-track degrees with higher annual fees are to be introduced in universities under plans announced by the government.
The two-year degrees will cost the same as a three-year course, meaning annual fees for them will be higher. Ministers are expected to table a bill to lift the current £9,000-a-year cap on tuition costs so that universities can charge higher annual rates.
The Department for Education has stressed that the fast-track degree would carry the same weight as the current undergraduate model. Universities will be able to charge more than £13,000-a-year for a three-year degree cut down to two years. Annual fees for a four-year course trimmed to three years could rise to £12,000 a year. The proposals will apply to institutions in England.
The fee hike would be strictly limited to the accelerated courses and universities would have to prove they were investing the same resources in the fast-track students as in those studying for a conventional degree. Education ministers think that the reduced timeframe will appeal to those who are in a hurry to get into, or return to, the workplace.’ - Guardian
‘Jo Johnson, the universities minister, will tell a conference today that moves towards more flexible study are overdue. Extending two-year degree courses was a Tory manifesto commitment.
Addressing a meeting of Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ body, Mr Johnson will say: “This bill gives us the chance to introduce new and flexible ways of learning. Students are crying out for more flexible courses, modes of study which they can fit around work and life, shorter courses that enable them to get into and back into work more quickly, and courses that equip them with the skills that the modern workplace needs.
“I absolutely recognise that for many students the classic three-year residential model will remain the preferred option. But it clearly must not be the only option.”…
Are fast-track degrees a new idea?
No. Tony Blair introduced them in 2003 and Vince Cable, the business secretary, gave them another push in 2010. Only a handful of universities offer them as it is difficult to recover their higher costs…
How will academics be persuaded to teach them?
The lecturers’ union has opposed fast-track degrees, saying they add massively to staff workloads and risk diminishing the university experience for students. However, universities could hire staff on teaching-only or other flexible contracts.’ - The Times