Students in England are going to be offered degrees in two years with a £5,500 saving in tuition fees, says the universities minister Jo Johnson (reports BBC Education).
Undergraduate courses will be condensed into “accelerated” degrees, with fees 20% less than a three-year course. Mr Johnson said he wants to “break the mould” of a system in which three-year degrees have “crowded out” any more flexible ways of studying.
The Office for Fair Access says the plan could help to widen opportunities. But Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said there was 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 she said that in effect 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 idea of a two-year degree had been proposed earlier this year – but this latest version has moved further towards making it cheaper for students. Students would take the same number of units and have the same amount of teaching and supervision, but degree courses would be delivered in one less year.