I share some of the concerns of the Open University. We have a large number of students studying part time UG (we are the third largest provider in the sector after OU and Birkbeck), but most are unable to claim hardship fund support because they are either:
1) above the 50% rate but not eligible (typically because they are in employment eg most HNC students, nurses, etc)
2) in real hardship, but studying below the 50% rate.
In our experience, the people in group 2) ought to be better targeted by the support mechanisms and this would aid retention and widen participation.
Like London Institute, but unlike OU and Birkbeck, we ALSO have a large number of Part time FE students and would be concerned about any unfairness between support mechanisms.
Head of Planning & Performance Review
University of Central Lancashire
Tel: +44 (0)1772 892391
Fax: +44 (0)1722 892943
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>>> [log in to unmask] 15 March 2002 09:17:39 >>>
At The Open University we have been having difficulty defending the "50%
rule" to all those students who choose (for very good reasons such as caring
responsibilities) to study at less than 50% per year. We would be very
concerned if a large number of FE students on short courses in HEIs were
deemed eligible when HE students, potentially studying at a greater rate
(the 25-50% area), were not.
The majority of our students do study at a rate that makes them eligible but
don't need the support. However a significant number, including some with
real need, cannot maintain that rate every year and elect to study at 25%
for a limited period, which removes their eligibility for that year. This
threatens their retention prospects.
The Open University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: david toynbee [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: 14 March 2002 17:59
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Hardship Fund guidance
> Reading the HEFCE Student Support Funding guidance for 2002/03 (report
> 02/12) I was surprised to see that in para 36 it says that 'all
> part-time FE students [in HEIs] should therefore be able to apply for
> help from the HE Hardship Fund, and should not have to be studying on a
> 50% or more FTE course to qualify'. This seems to raise concerns about
> parity with HE students, as well as more practical issues. Does this
> mean that anyone attending an evening or short course lasting a few
> weeks can apply?
> Looking at the Hardship Fund guidance itself in section 2 for
> clarification, the 50% of a FT course qualification is still there (para
> 4), without any exemption for FE students.
> We have significant numbers of FE students, and we are seeking further
> clarification from HEFCE. Does anyone else see this as an issue?
> David Toynbee
> Deputy Registrar
> The London Institute