The UK Department for Education has announced the expansion of accelerated two-year degree programs for universities in England, following a consultation period.
The government said that two-year bachelor degrees would encourage new providers into the market, help students to fast-track their way into the workforce, and create “an unprecedented level of choice and flexibility”.
The UK Department for Education has agreed to a new fee system which will allow providers to charge 20 per cent more per year for domestic/EU students, a fee structure that will provide a saving to students of at least 20 per cent (approximately UK£5,500) for the total cost of a degree, he said. The proposals for courses fees will require parliamentary approval.
The government response to the scheme does not detail course fees for non-EU students. For standard three-year degrees, fees are capped for domestic/EU students, but providers are free to set fees for non-EU students.
Under current rules EU students are entitled to the same fees and loan access as domestic UK students, although this may be subject to change following the Brexit negotiations. So far, the government has committed that EU students commencing in 2019/20 will have access to current rights for the duration of their programs, regardless of the Brexit outcome.
Accelerated degrees can now be offered in any degree subject, the Department for Education said.
There are already a small number of two-year degrees programs offered, but these are mostly in professional fields such as accountancy and law, and currently account for less than one per cent of all students. The government quoted a recent survey by the Student Loans Company showing that 55 per cent of respondents had never heard of accelerated degrees.