Foundation courses hit by low numbers

September 21, 2001

New foundation degree courses are continuing to suffer from recruitment problems, the latest national survey has found, writes Tony Tysome.

Figures compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consultancy helping to support and monitor the introduction of foundation degrees, show that 24 per cent of the prototype programmes have recruited less than a quarter of their target numbers.

Information gathered last month reveals that only 32 per cent of courses have been filled or nearly filled, with 16 per cent recruiting between half and three quarters of their target numbers, and 28 per cent recruiting a quarter to a half of their target.

The figures were released at a conference staged by PwC and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, where foundation degree course organisers met to share information and consider emerging issues.

Many providers are blaming low levels of national publicity and the tight timetable for the introduction of the qualification, on offer for the first time this term. Some also believe full-time foundation degrees have suffered as a result of the extra places available for honours degree courses in universities.

The figures do not distinguish between full and part-time courses. But anecdotal evidence indicates that full-time foundation degrees are having the toughest time, with some so far short of their target that they will not be running at all this year.

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