UK MPs passed a legislation in January this year which means students will be able to choose to study an accelerated two year degree for higher tuition fees, as opposed to a traditional three year course.
From September 2019, undergrads will have the option of a shorter degree and £11,000 per year tuition fees, compared to three year degrees for £9,250 per year. Overall, the shorter degrees will work out at around 20% cheaper (£5,500) in comparison to current courses, and would also save people a year’s worth of maintenance costs.
It’s unclear what these rates would be for international students.
Speaking about the passing of this legislation, Chris Skidmore, the government’s Minister for Universities, said:
“One of the great modern-day milestones for students and breaks the mould of a one-size-fits all system for people wanting to study in higher education. For thousands of future students wanting a faster pace of learning and a faster route into the workplace at a lower overall cost, to-year degrees will transform their choices.”
While this is obviously favourable for those who desire a degree but don’t want to spend three years at university, concerns have been raised over whether students would lose out on the ‘university experience’. Namely because the same amount of content would be crammed into two years, and first year would now count towards students’ overall grades, meaning less time for hangovers and skipping lectures.
It would also mean holidays are cut short, and some degrees would continue into August as opposed to finishing in June as most courses do now. The new degree structure, though, aims to maximise choices and flexibility, as well as appeal to mature students, and those from less privileged backgrounds.
A survey conducted by QS Enrolment Solutions found that the majority of international students who are considering or are already studying in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, are not positive about the concept of two-year degrees. Seventy-four percent of the 2,700 students surveyed said they would not be willing to pay more per year for a two-year degree, regardless of the fact they will be saving on living costs and an extra year of study.