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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Challenges for part-time students

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heeley MP Meg Munn has been a member of the Education Bill Committee which has been looking in detail at the proposals in the Bill which proposes changes to schools and universities. One of the areas giving concern is the proposed change to funding for part time students at colleges and universities and Meg wanted to find out more so she visited Birkbeck College in London. The college describes itself as London’s only specialist provider of evening university education, providing part time courses second only in number to the Open University.

 

Senior managers at the college briefed Meg on the changes contained in the Bill that are concerning them. The Bill introduces for the first time the opportunity for part time students to have access to loans to fund their fees and has cross party support. However unlike full time students, part time students are expected to begin paying back their loans before they have completed their course - after three years. This is worrying as many part time students have significant family responsibilities and may be put off studying if they have to begin repaying before the end of the course.

 

Birkbeck College are also concerned that the regulations for the new loans have not yet been produced for part time students, whereas they are already in place for full time students. Without knowing the regulations potential students will not be able to make decisions whether to begin a course, and the colleges and universities will not be able to provide relevant information to help them make a decision.  

 

Subsequently Meg raised both these issues in the Bill Committee. She did not get a satisfactory answer to the issue of repayment times, but the Minister did promise to issue draft regulations for part time students ahead of the Bill becoming legislation.

 

For further information on Birkbeck College visit their website at www.bbk.ac.uk

Associated Photograph :

Meg with Matthew Innes, Pro Vice Master & Professor of History, and Tricia King, Director of External Relations.

Meg with Matthew Innes, Pro Vice Master & Professor of History, and Tricia King, Director of External Relations.


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