Graduates to lose subsidies for second degree courses

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The Government is to phase out subsidies to help students who want to take a second degree course after graduating.

Universities have been told their funding for second degree courses will be slashed by £100m over the next three years as a prelude to phasing it out altogether.

Ministers recognise the decision could lead to many universities increasing their fees for students on second degree courses. At present such courses are exempt from the £3,000-a-year maximum top-up fee which can be charged for all first degree courses.

However, ministers argue that there are more pressing priorities – such as encouraging more pupils to go to university and widening participation among young people from deprived backgrounds.

They emphasise the decision is not a cut in funding – and that resources for higher education will still increase in real terms.

Ministers stressed that students who wanted to study for a higher level qualification – such as someone on a foundation course wanting to study for a good honours degree or an undergraduate wanting to take a postgraduate course – would not be affected. Exemptions could also be made for courses deemed to be in the national interest – such as medicine.