Last updated: 28.01.12

Distance learning 'preferred option for UK students facing high university fees'

An increasing number of UK students are choosing to sit their degree via distance learning platforms.

This is according to research conducted by Bournemouth marketing company TA Solutions, which found that as tuition fees reach the maximum cap of £9,000, more and more people are looking into distance learning for a more cost-effective option.

"There has been a significant increase in the amount of people I have met in the last year who do not have a university degree and are between the ages of 18 to 21 years old looking for a work opportunity," Michael Adetona, managing director at the company said.

He added that there has been a significant increase in the number of people applying for online learning courses since the latest A-level results were published in August last year.

"I think the main reason is due to the increase in student tuition fees and also the lack of guarantee of a secure job with no work experience and large debt at the end of the three-year minimum degree time," the expert commented.

This was furthered by the large number of 18-year-old college leavers who were put into the UCAS clearing system due to a lack of available university places and the stricter entry requirements in relation to this.

Research from the company revealed that 90 per cent of distance learning students work full-time while studying. This results in them leaving higher education with significantly less debt than the average student who attends university.

According to research by the Push university guide, the average student debt could hit £53,000 for students enrolling on courses after the cap on fees was announced last year.

For those students who enrolled in 2011, the average debt will be around £26,100.

Under the new rules, university leavers will start paying back their fees when they earn a salary of £21,000 or more. Previously, those who attended university before a cap on fees started paying loans back when earning £16,000.