University waives fees for part-time students - UK - News - The Independent

University waives fees for part-time students

A UNIVERSITY is to waive tuition fees of up to pounds 250,000 to prevent an exodus of part-time students who have been hit by the recession.

The University of Central England in Birmingham, formerly Birmingham Polytechnic, is acting after a spate of calls this month from anguished students. Many of them are halfway through job-related courses but have been made redundant during the summer, losing not only income but also sponsorship from their employers. Others are students intending to embark on courses this term, who have also suddenly lost sponsorship from firms, some totalling thousands of pounds.

Dr Peter Knight, university vice-chancellor, said: 'We do not know how many students are affected, but we think it could cost us something in the region of pounds 250,000.

'These are people on courses, expecting their employer to pay, but the company has gone under. Or they are new students and the same thing has happened.'

The students would have to fulfil one of two criteria to get their fees waived. Either they would have to be on income support and 'on their uppers', Dr Knight said. Or, and this applies to the largest group, they would be in receipt of unemployment benefit. There are about 7,500 part-time students at the university.

'The problem with part-time students is that everything tends to be a bit last-minute,' Dr Knight said. 'This month people either wrote to me, or contacted tutors, to say they were out of work and could not afford to pay for their courses. It seems daft for someone halfway through a course suddenly to have to withdraw. A feature of our university is that we have a highly vocational portfolio of courses. Many of our part-time students . . . tend to be in employment, with their fees paid by their employer. So our students are more vulnerable than others.'

Dr Knight said the university did not need to get the scheme sanctioned by either its funding council or the Department for Education. 'We have the power to set fees, and we can set a fee of zero.' The university intends the scheme to extend beyond this year. 'You cannot take a student just for a year and then kick them out,' Dr Knight said.

The scheme was possible because of 'prudent management' but it would have to be carefully monitored.

The National Union of Students yesterday welcomed the move. A spokeswoman said: 'This is a very positive move and I hope other universities and colleges follow this lead. Part-time students are usually at the bottom of the heap, and because they have no grant-aid, often suffer the most hardship.

'It is marvellous that a university is finally taking their welfare into account. If they suddenly lose their jobs it can be back-breaking and they lose all chance of bettering themselves and getting another job. This is a very far-sighted plan by this university and we are very excited about it.'

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week