Mature Student Conference championed by Staffordshire University

“The key is ensuring information about fees and loans is transparent, making sure that it is understood that they are manageable and affordable, and also that investing in one's own future has real benefits even in difficult financial times.”

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Gunn

Mature students gathered at Staffordshire University this week to debate the impact of Higher Education reforms on retraining and life-long learning.

The cause is being championed by former Staffordshire University Student Union President, Fiona Wood, who was instrumental in the publication of a national report which highlights a decline in the numbers of mature students applying to University.

The one-day event, which was held at the University’s Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, provided institutions and students unions from across the UK with the opportunity to discuss the specific challenges that face the mature student population.

Fiona, a Mature Representative for the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “It is really important for Universities to look at who they are recruiting and how they can help them when they are here.

“Mature students will often come from many different groups from parents, carers to the disabled and they can't just be expected to study in the same way as 18-21 year-olds.

“I loved university and it is important we enable other mature students and part time students to get the most of their time in higher education.” Fiona added.

Attending, NUS Vice President for Higher Education, Rachel Wenstone, said: “We are holding this event at a time when concerns are being raised over the sudden fall in mature and part-time applicants at university.

“We feel it imperative that unions and institutions work in partnership to discuss the issues and find solutions so that we can continue to support and expand lifelong learning.”

Professor Michael Gunn, Staffordshire University Vice Chancellor and newly appointed chair of University think-tank Million +, added: “I think increased fees and assumptions made about the high cost of going to university is having an adverse impact.

“The key is ensuring information about fees and loans is transparent, making sure that it is understood that they are manageable and affordable, and also that investing in one's own future has real benefits even in difficult financial times.”

Contact

Maria Scrivens
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t: +44 (0)1782 294375
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e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk