Currently, more than 180,000 students in about 280 further education colleges are following higher education programmes, representing 10 per cent of total student numbers in higher education.
The average fee for these students is considerably less than that for their peers in universities, yet, as reports from the Quality Assurance Agency show, they enjoy comparable standards and quality. Evidence from student surveys indicates that they often have more contact with teachers and are better supported.
Worryingly, Browne seems to have taken no account of the impact of the draconian cuts being assumed on further education colleges, or on the partnerships between higher education institutions and further education colleges that presently do so much to widen participation in higher education.
Alan Nisbett, Devon.