Changing Student behaviour

New university landscape:
Supporting changing student
Garmon ap Garth
Birkbeck, University of London
[email protected]
• Overview of changes since 2012 funding
changes in England
• Birkbeck’s experience of changing student
• Discussion
Changing behaviour since 2012
funding changes in England
• Fears of major adverse consequences of the higher fees
have not yet come to pass
– Record number of students entered HE in 2013/14
– Entry rates for disadvantaged increase; differences by
background at record lows
– Women a third more likely to enter than men, 45% more likely
in disadvantaged areas
– Advantaged young people in England being 2.8 times more likely
to enter higher education compared to 4.4 times in 2004
– No increase in students choosing to stay at home
– Increase in lower quintile students applying and enrolling
• However, big falls in number of mature students and parttime students
Impact of the 2012 student finance
changes – Birkbeck’s experience
• New provision has led to full-time evening
applications rising rapidly
• Part-time students enrolments 40% down – across
the part-time sector and also at Birkbeck
• Significant numbers of (mature) students have
disappeared from the system
• No signs of these changes reversing
• Increased interest in flexible modes of study
• Continue to attract WP students, although with
different characteristics
Birkbeck’s response to changes in
students’ choices
• Introduce full-time evening degrees in response to demand
from students.
– Now all UG degrees are available on a full-time basis
• Attract students who are looking for different model of
• Work with 6th forms and full engagement in UCAS for the
first time
• 60% of f-t students are now under 25 – rapid change in
student body
• Applications from FEC up 400% in 2 years
Full time and part time evening study
Full-time evening
Work around study
Part-time evening
Study around work
3 years
4 years
3-4 evenings a week
2-3 evenings a week
Time of classes
Application process
Direct application to
Entry requirements
Same as part-time
Same as full-time
UCAS deadlines
More flexibility
Student Tuition Fee Loan and
Maintenance Loan available
Student Tuition Fee Loan
available - no Maintenance
Loan available
Recommend students work no
more than 20 hours per week
Ability to work full-time
Applications to Birkbeck’s
full-time degrees
The impact on student body
Year on year increase in applications by age group:
2014/15 (to date)
30 plus
25 to 30
Under 21
Year on year increase in applications from partner institutions:
Students from
partner institutions
2014/15 (to date)
Why the large increase in younger
students applying to Birkbeck?
Increased knowledge of Birkbeck through being in UCAS
Reputation and quality – University of London
Generous financial support
Mid range entry requirements
– UCAS tariff points are typically 240-300
– Access to HE requirement is typically 15 credits achieved at
Merit or Distinction in a subject units
– We continue to welcome applicants without traditional
• Students keen to combine study with work
• Not being aware that we only offer evening provision (!)
Who are the young students attracted
to full-time evening study?
• Students who choose to stay in London
• Low income
• 55% of full-time students are entitled to our financial
• 40% of our part-time access our financial support
Significantly increased percentage of BME
High percentage of Access and BTEC
Mid-range entry qualifications
Students who are looking to work alongside study
Full-time evening study – what our
students say
“I was studying alongside professionals who were already
working in the City, had their own companies or worked for
government and I found that really useful as I got to
network with people who had a lot more experience than
It was one of my fellow students who advised me that, with
the skills I had, I would make a good actuary and when I
was going to interviews they would advise me”
Natalie Jackson, BSc Economics and Social Policy
Full-time evening study – what our
students say
“I am seeing the benefits of studying and working
simultaneously, and this intensive approach will help
me in the job market in future. When I graduate I will
have an internationally recognised degree, a job in my
chosen field, and three years of valuable and relevant
experience from the workplace”
Michael Peltier, BSc Accounting (alongside working at a
hedge fund).
• Nationally, changes in student behaviour do not
seem significant through several measurements.
• Birkbeck’s experience shows that there are many
students interested in different models of study. A
number of students are choosing different options
when they’re made aware of those options.
Discussion questions: current
• What are the main factors that determine students’
HE choices, and have you seen changes in recent
– More career minded than previously?
– Do more decide not to apply at all?
– Are more students seeking alternative models of HE?
Discussion questions: current
• What can be done at school/college level to identify
students who would benefit from different options?
• Pressures on careers services; how can universities
offer more support?
Discussion questions: the future
• Impact of the removal of student number controls
– 30,000 additional places at universities in 2014/15
– No student number controls from 2015/16
• What is the likely impact on student behaviour, and
how can we prepare?

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