Friday 24, February 2012
Students could 'lose out' over course cuts
A SALFORD student leader has criticised university bosses for cutting courses "solely on financial viability," writes Alison Carter.
Caroline Dangerfield, President of the Salford University Students' Union, spoke after a study revealed that 40 per cent of programmes had been ditched in the north west over the last six years.
She understands that Salford is this year planning on cutting Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma courses and foundation degrees, as well as postgraduate programmes in a “strategic decision”.
Ms Dangerfield said that treating a university "like a business is harmful to students."
She added: “It is frustrating and disappointing where choices are driven by finances and not student choice.
"We are not business, education should be at the heart of our decision making."
Over the last year, Salford has been assessing programmes and modules in a cost-cutting exercise.
Ms Dangerfield spoke of her concern about removing the foundation degree route for potential students.
She said it was important to keep courses “vibrant and diverse” but felt “rash” decision making was affecting this aim.
The university was unable to confirm how many courses were being cut but a spokesman said: "The University is committed to providing a wide range of courses which meet the needs of industry and demand from applicants. As such, we review all of our courses continually and introduce and withdraw programmes according to the levels of demand within the economy.”
University courses on offer around the country have been cut by more than a quarter over the past six years, a study by the University and College Union (UCU) has shown.
The study found that funding cuts are affecting course availability which could be damaging to students.
The North-West is seeing a 40% cut in the amount of university courses on offer which is one of the highest reduction figures in the country.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "While successive governments have been dreaming up new ways to increase the cost of going to university, the range of subjects available to students has fallen massively.
As well as falling numbers of courses on offer around the country the January statistics for UCAS have revealed an overall 7.4 per cent drop in the number of applicants to universities in the UK compared to last year.
There has been an even larger reduction in the number of applicants from England at almost 10 per cent.
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