A GROWING number of the region’s A-level students are shunning traditional Liverpool universities for city rivals offering cheaper shorter degree programmes.
Students across Merseyside were today celebrating another set of A-level exam successes with the scramble for remaining university places set to begin.
But with tuition fees rocketing in September to just under, or the maximum, £9,000 a year at the city’s three universities, official figures show they have been hit with an annual drop in application. Amid the prospect of racking up debts of at least £27,000 after a traditional three year university course – a rising number of students are turning to other city venues offering degrees at a cheaper rate and over two years.
They include the SAE Institute in Liverpool – an “audio-centric” college, based in the Wellington Buildings in The Strand which offers students access to the latest audio, electronic and IT equipment. Last year the college launched a two year BA/BSc audio production degree and has seen the number of students sign up in 2012 double.
Students enrolling on the £7,140 a year degree course will be able to apply for £12,000 in student loans over its two-year duration.
Prof Zbys Klich, director of academic affairs, SAE Global, said: “Our students have practical creative training with two year fully recognised degrees which mean they get into work earlier and they have access to world class studios and equipment.”
And with fully fledged degree awarding powers BPP University College based in Liverpool’s Lord Street is also welcoming Merseyside A-level students after launching its own law degree this year. BPP’s Liverpool base has operated for 13 years mainly offering professional accountancy recognised qualifications.
For the first time in 2011 it offered a Legal Practice Course (LPC) – a post graduate qualification which allows those holding law degrees to make the step up to work in a legal practice. It has seen a 25% in LPC applications for 2012. And on the back of demand it will offer law degrees which can be taken over two years at £6,000 a year or over three years at £5,000 a year.
Across its UK bases it has seen a 97% increase in students applying for its degree programmes this September and Steve McCormick, managing director at BPP’s Liverpool centre said: “The ‘one size fits all’ approach to university study is long gone, and we have designed all of our programmes to fit different needs and lifestyles.”
But Ian Vandewalle, pro-vice chancellor at Liverpool Hope University said traditional universities were not in danger.
His institution has seen 2012 applications drop 16% since the dash to beat the fees last year but applications are still 10% higher than in 2010.
He said: “Each year tens of thousands of students fail to get into university through clearing, demand is there.”
Nationally more than one in four A-levels were expected to be awarded at least an A grade, but to avoid grade inflation, regulator Ofqual has told exam boards to justify any wildly higher results.
FOR a round-up of Merseyside’s A-level results log on to www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk