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University Might Become TWO Years Instead of Three — How much will it save you?

December 11, 2017, 4:00 PM
  • University degrees taught in two years instead of three
  • Students could save over £5,000
  • ‘Accelerated degrees’
  • More flexible way of studying
Students may be able to graduate after just two years, instead of three. Image: Getty

Students in England could be offered a two year long degree as an alternative way to attend university.


A two year course would cut the cost of doing a degree by £5,500, leaving graduates in 20% less debt than with a three year course.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson put forward this suggestion, saying he wanted to break the mould of three year courses to introduce a more flexible way of studying.

Johnson said, “We need to move beyond being stuck with a system that has increasingly focused on offering only one way of benefiting from higher education.”

Reacting to the news, Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk said, "Mr Johnson has a fantastic initiative in his hands. While I was studying I always wondered why the Summer holidays were so long. In fact, I crammed most of my third year of University into my second and finished early. Everyone's a winner: Student's have less debt, go into work sooner, and its cheaper for the Government and Universities."

The proposal of a two year course was put forward earlier this year, but without the incentive of making it a way to save money for students.

As well as saving money on tuition, students would have one less year of living costs to pay for, as they could start working a year earlier than with a three year course.

Students would be able to take the same amount of modules as they would in a three year course and have the same amount of teaching, but it would be a more condensed way of learning.

The proposal is expected to be popular among mature students, whose numbers have declined in recent years.

Johnson said, “This policy will be particularly attractive for mature student, who are looking to change their skills and adapt to changes in the economy- and who might want to get through higher education at a faster pace”

Professor Les Ebdon, head of the Offa access watchdog, backed the calls for the fast-track courses, saying, “Accelerated degrees are an attractive option for mature students who have missed out on the chance to go to university as a young person.

“Having often battled disadvantage, these students can thrive in higher education and I hope now many more will be able to take up the life-changing opportunity to get a degree.”

Two year courses would, however, be more expensive per year than a three year course.

This would mean that if you had to repeat a year, it would cost you more than a three year version, despite studying for the same amount of time.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said, “There is no evidence that squeezing three years of learning into two will stop the huge drop in part-time students or lead to better outcomes.

“Instead, it would mean that for each of the two years of study, tuition fees would be more expensive than the current £9,250, at about £11,000 per year.”

The University of Buckingham, a private university not covered by Student Finance England, is already offering two year courses.

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of the University, said, “Two years are the ideal solution for those students who want to get on with their degree and forsake the three-month summer holidays.”

A two year course would have longer terms, cutting into the three month long summer holidays students currently have. Image: Getty

Members of the Latest Deals money saving community support the proposals for shorter uni courses.

Rachel Louise Orwell, a student, said, “A lot of uni courses (including mine), the first year doesn’t count towards your final grade, and it’s more like a practice year.

“Why not have a practice term instead, and then start officially working on the course?

“I feel like a year that doesn’t count towards my marks is completely wasted.”

Lisa Cox Mapley agreed that courses should be shorter, saying, “My son is going to Bath, provided he gets the right grades, to do maths, mechanics method, and advanced physics.

“His degree will take five years to complete, so I wish this applied to him.”

Sam Rowe believes it would only be effective depending on what university you’re at, saying, “I think it depends on the quality of the teaching you get.

“I went to Wolverhampton University and has outstanding teaching; I’ve also studied at Birmingham City University and a lot of the teaching was poor at best.

“I do think three years is more suited to myself, but two years might work well for others.”

Emily Ann Griffiths disagreed, however, as the stress of a two year course can be overwhelming.

She said, “My uni has always offered them, I wouldn’t recommend it!

“The amount of stress uni has put my through I really need the summers off to rest and also work so I have money for the next year, but two year degrees get rid of that.

“Most students struggle to get their work done on time to a high standard, I have spent countless nights in the library until 6 am.

“These students will save on some tuition fees and a year of communication, but there are other costs- no time to work for extra money or time to rest their mental health.

“It will be up to the individual if they think they can cope with the pressure; I’d only recommend it to people who are doing extremely well in their A Levels as it really is such a big step up.”

Who will the changes effect?

The proposal comes after UCAS revealed that the chances of going to university depends on where you live.

Students in London, who have a 44% chance of going to university, will be more affected by the option of a two year course than students in the South-West, who have just a 28.9% chance of going to uni.

Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said, "A common theme to emerge from our analysis of data from the 2017 cycle is that the entry rate of 18-year-olds to higher education has increased across all parts of the UK.

"This trend is most pronounced in London.

“There have been significant and much documented improvements to secondary education in the capital.

“Understanding how to replicate this high level of attainment could help drive increases in entry rates elsewhere."

Do you think a two year course is a good idea? Let us know in the comments!

MellonEover a year ago

The first year is a good chance to learn and make mistakes. Removing the first year sounds like a bad move as it's the year to get to grips with referencing, finding good resources and having feedback to improve essay structure and writing.

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