Bridge Group Summit on Mature Students in Higher Education

Monday 19th Mar 2018

2-4pm, Hogan Lovells, London EC1A 2FG

Collaborative action to address the dramatic fall in the participation of mature students in higher education

For too long, conversations around fair access, widening participation, and student success have focused on full-time undergraduate entrants, primarily conceived as school-leavers. Consequently, the volatility of mature participation in higher education has been overlooked, along with weaker levels of retention for mature students. The dramatic fall in part-time participation in England since the 2012 funding reforms (which includes 90% mature students) has given urgency to the debate around improving access for mature students and the need to better understand the role that employers play in creating a market for part time study.

Many people are trapped in low-skilled, low-pay work and it’s vital that reforms are introduced across the higher education sector and labour market to achieve greater social equality.

Our summit gathers together university leaders, policymakers, employers, and researchers to improve understanding of the scale of the challenge and to define and agree solutions to promote greater educational and social equality.

Key policy issues:

  • Student finance
  • Widening participation
  • Retention and support
  • Provision of part-time undergraduate courses
  • Incentives for employers
  • Labour market reform

We’ll be joined by experts on the participation of mature students in higher education and the labour market who will share evidence and ideas and take part in a discussion chaired by Nik Miller (Chief Executive, Bridge Group):

Chris Millward (Director of Policy, HEFCE, and future Director of Fair Access, Office for Students)

Laura Burley (Head of Government Relations and External Affairs, The Open University)

Professor Claire Callender (Birkbeck, University of London)

Summary of Discussion and Policy Recommendations

Professor Claire Callender’ Presentation on Part-Time Participation