Universities and colleges recruiting part-time students from disadvantaged backgrounds are to receive additional cash rewards, writes Alison Goddard.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England has decided to distribute an extra Pounds 1.8 million to institutions that encourage such participation this year.
More students are opting to study part-time, according to figures for this academic year released last week by the Department for Education and Employment and the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
There are 254,100 part-time students this year, about 39 per cent of the total number enrolled. Next year there will be an extra 36,000 student places, about 20,000 of which will be part-time.
The extra cash will come in addition to the existing 5 per cent premium for part-timers and will be based on the same principles as the widening participation premium for full-time students.
The money will go to institutions that recruit a higher than average proportion of students from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, as measured by their postcodes.
HEFCE also announced more money for performing arts this week. A 40 per cent premium will be applied in the funding method for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. The Central School of Speech and Drama, Dartington College of Arts and Rose Bruford College will all get a 20 per cent premium. Specialist institutions generally receive about 10 per cent.