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Sector news, 12 - 16 March 2012

Further education colleges awarded 10,000 degree student places The Guardian, 14 March 2012

More than 10,000 undergraduate student places for the autumn have been given to further education colleges under government reforms that are encouraging the growth of a low-cost alternative to traditional universities. A total of 20,000 places have been taken off higher education institutions in England and auctioned to universities and colleges who are charging average tuition fees of £7,500 or less this year. The rest of the places have gone to 35 universities, with the biggest winners Anglia Ruskin, London Met, Nottingham Trent and Staffordshire.

Private colleges are being sacrificed to please the anti-immigration lobby The Guardian, 12 March 2012

High fees plus the prohibition of any part-time working by international students at private colleges have ensured the dramatic contraction of the industry, this article finds. A year ago the UK Border Agency brought in a radical reform of its procedures for licensing colleges of further and higher education as “sponsors” of tier 4 immigrants, students from outside the European Economic Area, with the Home Office wanting to drastically cut non-EU migration to the UK. A recent report by the independent thinktank CentreForum estimates that, as a result of these new arrangements, there has been a 70 per cent decline in international enrolments at private HE colleges, and the contraction of the private FE sector is likely to have been at least as great.