For-profit college to offer two-year law degree

The UK's first for-profit private company to gain the power to award its own degrees, BPP College, is to offer a two-year law degree alongside a standard three-year course.

BPP, which reflects growing interest in two-year degrees across the sector, will run the course from 2009-10. It is expected to charge in the region of £10,000, although it has not set its prices.

Peter Crisp, dean of BPP Law School, said: "We think mature students will find the accelerated programme very attractive. It's not suitable for all students as it will require a lot of focus and discipline."

He added: "We are not trying to compete for the 19-year-old school-leaver market. We want mature individuals who missed out on higher education earlier in life and have made a clear commitment to becoming a lawyer."

He pointed to the success of the University of Buckingham, a private institution that has been squeezing the academic content of a three-year degree into two years for decades.

Like Buckingham, BPP will not distinguish between British and overseas students in terms of fees.

David Palfreyman, director of the Universities and Colleges Education Law Network, said: "It will be very interesting to see how the market responds to this offer.

"Students could be looking at two years for £10,000 as opposed to £6,000-7,000 for a three-year degree at a Russell Group institution. How will universities price the undergraduate in a genuine higher education marketplace?"

Two-year degrees are being trialled at other universities: Staffordshire University, Derby University, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Northampton and The Medway Partnership in Kent.

The scheme, which has cash from the Higher Education Funding Council's strategic development fund, has been extended to Gloucestershire University and the University of Plymouth for the 2008-09 academic year.

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