NIACE develops new resources for mature students

18 June 2013

NIACE has produced a set of online resources for prospective mature students with information and advice on higher education as part of UCAS’s relaunched website.

The new website aims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for prospective full-time undergraduate students. The new mature student materials ensure that adults are not left out and have information specially tailored to their needs and circumstances.

The new material includes information and advice for mature students on choosing the right course, funding their studies, applying to a higher education institution and staying the course.The materials are supported by film and written case studies of past Adult Learners’ Week award winners who have turned their lives around through mature higher education.

The resources and case studies reflect a variety of benefits of higher study – from personal development and confidence-building to financial and career benefit – and aim to persuade adults of the benefits of higher education and to offer practical support and advice about the challenges they are likely to face at each of the different stages of their HE journey.

Paul Stanistreet, NIACE’s Policy Lead for Higher Education, said:

“This new, more user-friendly and dynamic website, and the new resources for prospective mature students in particular, are timely. The past few years have seen a worrying decline in adult participation in higher education, full-time and part-time. One of the reasons for this is poor public understanding of the government’s HE reforms, particularly among adults who often have to weigh up their options without the benefit of institutional advice and guidance. We hope these resources go some way to addressing this.

“NIACE is delighted to have had the opportunity to support UCAS in developing the new resources. It is important that adults understand that higher education is for them too. They make up around a third of all full-time undergraduate students and the vast majority of part-time students. Wherever they study, they make a positive difference to the intellectual and cultural lives of their institutions, bringing fresh insight, questioning minds, experience of life and work, and a passionate commitment to study. But growing participation among adults is not only good for institutions – it is critical to the health of our economy, to democracy and to the creation of a creative, flexible and resilient society.”

Helen Thorne, UCAS Director of Policy and Research, said:

“Every year thousands of adults take the opportunity to develop themselves, and their careers, through higher education. The dedicated area for mature students on the new UCAS website provides key information on the application process, finance and also what to expect while studying. This includes the stories of a number of mature students who bring the experience of studying at university to life and these are a great example of how welcome mature students are at universities and colleges across the country.”

NIACE is also pleased to announce that its Chief Executive, David Hughes, has been appointed to the HEFCE Widening Participation Committee. He said:

“The issue of adults being able to take full advantage of the opportunities of full and part-time higher education courses is critical to the widening participation agenda and one of huge importance to NIACE. There has been an unprecedented fall in the numbers taking up these opportunities over the past few years which is extremely concerning. I am really pleased to take up this role as a member of this committee to push the case for adults when most of the focus is on younger people.”