"The fast-track course is exactly the right option for me. Being able to do the course in a two-year timeframe instead of three really makes you dive into the course knowing that completion is not far off."
Laura Montague, Accounting and Finance two year degree
The government is endorsing the benefits of accelerated degrees pioneered by Staffordshire University.
Since 2006 Staffordshire University has been at the forefront of delivering two year accelerated degrees which offer students a quicker route into employment and savings on course fees and living costs.
This week, Universities Minister Jo Johnson highlighted the benefits of accelerated learning and the government launched a consultation on new proposals which would allow universities to raise the cost of two year degrees.
Jo Johnson said: “Many will want to stick with the classic three year university experience, but for highly motivated students hungry for a faster pace of learning and a quicker route into or back into work, at lower overall cost, two year degrees will be well worth considering.”
As one of the original five HEFCE funded Flexible Learning Pathfinders (supported by the Higher Education Academy), Staffordshire University has grown its provision and now offers courses in Accounting and Finance, Business Management, English Literature, Journalism, Law and Sports Strength and Conditioning, Football Coaching and Performance with approximately 150 students currently enrolled.
Sue Reece, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at Staffordshire University, commented: “Although an increasing number of 18 year olds apply for places on our courses, the majority are mature students who are interested in upskilling or looking for a career change. For both demographics, the attractions of a two year degree are clear: saving on living costs, rent and other expenses; quicker entry into the graduate job market; and quicker entry into postgraduate study.
“Our own research has shown that accelerated degree students tend to attend more lectures, spend more time on independent study, and in terms of student outcomes, module results and final degree results are as good as three year students. Staffordshire University is committed to excellence in innovative and applied learning, and it is our intention to continue to grow fast tracks as part of our flexible learning offer while recognising that they are not for all students or all subjects.”
The government proposals, announced on Sunday, include a £5,500 (20 per cent) saving for students in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course. When added to the average salary of £19,000 in the first year after graduating, it means a potential £25,000 benefit overall.
Laura Montague (pictured), in her final year of the accelerated Accounting and Finance degree at Staffordshire University, said: “The fast-track course is exactly the right option for me. Being able to do the course in a two-year timeframe instead of three really makes you dive into the course knowing that completion is not far off. It also prepares you well in terms of how the working environment will be when you finish.”
Karl McCormack, who teaches accelerated degrees in Accounting and Finance at Staffordshire University, added: “I find that the accelerated degree offers so much more to students, including the extra focus, the drive and the immersive experience of constantly learning over the two years.”