Part-time HE students have to pay unregulated fees when they enroll and have access to less generous levels of financial support. NIACE believes that arrangements for part-time students that assume employer support risk excluding those outside the labour market and adults seeking to move on from their existing employers. The primary thrust of NIACE advocacy work in higher education is directed towards achieving a better deal for part-time students.
In 2009/10 NIACE will be submitting evidence to the review of higher education fees and finance led by Lord Browne of Madingley. It will also seek funding for work to model how mode-free funding for higher education might be developed.
Supporting innovation in inclusion, outreach and support
The HE sector has a long but patchy record in this area. The sector can be proud of a history going back to university settlements, extra-mural programmes and then departments of continuing eduation. There are also credit accumulation and transfer initiatives, access courses along with widening participation programmes and engagement with local communities - as well as the groundbreaking example of the Open University. Netherless, not all institutions or subject areas are as ‘adult friendly' as others.
NIACE works, with its members and sectorial organizations to encourage development and research that will support a more flexible and responsive sector.