London Met applicants trapped in limbo by course closures and Ucas deadline

Students who applied for courses now being shut down by London Metropolitan University face a desperate search for places at other institutions.

May 5, 2011

London Met is to cut its course offering by 70 per cent as it prepares for the introduction of the new fees and funding regime in 2012-13, when it will charge a relatively low average fee of £6,850.

The university will close courses such as history, philosophy, performing arts and Caribbean studies, with the "transition" starting in 2011-12 before being fully implemented in 2012-13.

Some current students will be unable to complete their courses, and some who applied for 2011-12 places will also be affected.

By a Universities and Colleges Admissions Service national deadline on 5 May, students are expected to reply to any offers they have received.

The father of one London Met applicant, who asked not to be named, said that to his knowledge, the students on courses affected at the institution had not been formally contacted by the university.

The parent said that London Met had "delayed" its decision over which courses to offer in 2011-12 - leaving it too close for comfort to the Ucas deadline. He claimed that many parents were thus "unaware that little Josie or Johnny is going to find out they don't have a place at university, and might have (only) a day to sort it out".

He said London Met should have contacted at-risk applicants at the earliest opportunity and set up a special procedure with Ucas for alternative applications.

"I don't think it thought about the students - it thought about how to sort out its own mess," he added.

Claire Locke, president-elect at London Met Students' Union, said there was "growing concern about the (current) students whose courses are to be deleted".

"Whether or not their courses can be completed at London Met is debatable," she added.

Times Higher Education asked London Met to say how many current students would be unable to complete their courses and how many 2011-12 applicants would be unable to take up their places.

A university spokeswoman said she "had not been able to get any numbers" and admitted that "the course closures will affect students beyond our current enrolment".

But she added: "We fully anticipate that students will complete their courses with us; indeed, the Quality Assurance Agency institutional audit, published in April 2011, commends London Met for the way in which it has handled previous programme closures."

She said the university "is contacting all affected students...before 5 May" and suggesting an alternative course "in the majority of cases".

john.morgan@tsleducation.com.

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