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SRHE Seminar 19 March 2013 Higher education provision in further education colleges: some findings and methodological considerations Anne Thompson.

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Presentation on theme: "SRHE Seminar 19 March 2013 Higher education provision in further education colleges: some findings and methodological considerations Anne Thompson."— Presentation transcript:

1 SRHE Seminar 19 March 2013 Higher education provision in further education colleges: some findings and methodological considerations Anne Thompson

2 What is it? HE in FE HE in FECs College based HE

3 HEFCE ‘HE in FECs is already a distinctive part of the HE system. While it is dangerous to over-generalise about a diverse system, HE students in FECs are more likely to be over 25, more likely to study part-time, and more likely to come from areas with low rates of participation in HE than students in HEIs. They are more likely to be studying foundation degrees and sub-degree programmes such as HNCs and HNDs.’ (Para 32, Higher education in further education colleges. Consultation on HEFCE policy. HEFCE, November 2006/48) 2009: all directly and indirectly funded colleges required to submit a higher education strategy to HEFCE by January 2010 to cover all higher level provision (including NPHE) (Request for higher education strategies from further education colleges, March 2009/13)

4 What is higher education? Above level 3/level 4 and above National Qualifications Framework (NQF) - from 1997 all accredited general and vocational qualifications. Originally five levels with 4 and 5 being HE. Now nine levels - entry to level 8 NQF and QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) aligned at levels 4 to 8 in 2004, NVQ 4 and 5 not reallocated Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) -regulated vocational qualifications offered by recognised Awarding Organisations. Nine levels – entry to level 8

5 Funding of HE in FECs HEFCE funding: prescribed HE direct funding (whole qualifications only) - students registered at the FEC indirect funding - via a franchise arrangement. Students registered at the HEI but taught at the FEC SFA funding: non prescribed HE (NPHE) – awards at level 4 and above on the QCF excluding full cost provision

6 Data returns Different data returns are made with different timescales and requirements. HEFCE funded HE: where funding is indirect, the HEI includes the students taught at the FEC on their HESA return as well as on the Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey (HESES) FECs with direct funding make the return via the ILR to the Data Service and their early return to HEFCE, the Higher Education in Further Education: Student Survey (HEIFES). The two sets of data are subsequently (after end of year) reconciled by HEFCE NPHE: returned on the ILR the definition of full-time and part-time varies from HEFCE’s as do the subject categories

7 Understanding higher education in further education colleges, BIS Research Report Number 69, June 2012 Conducted March 2011 to March 2012: literature review statistical analysis of administrative data on provision and participation fieldwork in 25 FECs – interviews with college managers; HEI partners; questionnaire survey of students; in class discussions with students interviews with employers – national and collaborators with colleges

8 National data analysis Integrated data set for : constructed using ‘fuzzy matching’ across the ILR and HESA analytical work undertaken by HEFCE, using model previously developed by University of Sheffield Categories of higher education used: Postgraduate Bachelor’s (first degree) Other undergraduate (FDs, HNs, Dip and Cert HE) Other higher level

9 Provision ,260 taught in FECs. 8% of the HE population 283 out of 349 FECs provided HE. Mainly in general FECs (224 out of 225) and specialist institutions (25 out of 33) 61% undergraduate; 36% other higher level; 3% postgraduate 60% part-time overall but, for undergraduate, 55% full-time 31% of students were directly funded by HEFCE; 33% indirectly; 18% by LSC/SFA and 17% Other most colleges had more than one funding route; 37% had three indirect funding partnerships involved 245 colleges and 68 HEIs

10 contd a minority of FECs accounted for the majority of HE students compared to HEIs, students in FECs were older 20% of new entrants taught at FECs were from low participation areas compared to 11% for HEIs with the gap being wider for young entrants than for older entrants those joining undergraduate courses had a broader range of entry qualifications – fewer with A levels and more with level 3 vocational qualifications or lower level qualifications but more of the students taught in FECs than those taught in HEIs had HE qualifications – many would have had an FD or HN and progressed into the final year of a bachelor’s

11 Fieldwork – 25 FECs Selection of 25 colleges using the integrated data set for total of 299 colleges reduced to those with 400+ numbers = 150 statistical selection taking into account volume and region for each college, target quotas totalling 100 identified for qualification aim (Bachelor, Other UG and Other HE) by mode (FT, PT) Fieldworkers negotiated with college managers to identify appropriate groups to administer questionnaires to meet targets as well as one in-class discussion group per college

12 Methodological issues For selection of 25 case studies: integrated data set (the only one available) was for mergers had to be taken into account For identification of quotas: it became evident volume and balance of qual aims had changed since the fieldworkers negotiated with college managers to identify groups to meet the targets in summer 2011 but the questionnaires were administered in autumn 2011 and patterns of provision shifted (over and under recruitment) During the project, data became available but the questionnaire responses were gathered in

13 NPHE For NPHE, there were particular problems in meeting the targets leading to these students being excluded from the main analysis: NPHE and HEFCE-funded HE are often managed separately and/or the data collected in separate MIS the patterns of provision had shifted considerably – usually a decline but not always – apparently due to withdrawal of SFA funding which had led to withdrawal of provision or a shift to full cost funding where provision was identified, the staff and/or the students often refused to participate in the project because it would eat into very limited contact time for which significant fees were usually being paid

14 Questionnaire findings 2,523 undergraduate students (Bachelor and Other UG): overall the students had traditional undergraduate characteristics (female, aged 24 and under, white, single, childless with highest qualification 2 A levels or equivalent) but were mainly non-traditional in that neither parent had an HE qualification the majority were aiming for an FD and studied full-time on a course directly funded by HEFCE their motives for entering HE were primarily instrumental around 2/3rds had only applied to study at this college. This and the selection of the college because it was close to home/work or because they had previously studied there led the author to question whether they were making an informed choice a minority thought they had chosen to apply to a university

15 UCAS – applications and enrolment One of the findings from the student questionnaires which attracted attention was that 1 in 10 students did not realise they were applying to a college rather than a university. It may not be apparent to an applicant to a franchised course going via UCAS that it is not taught at the HEI 2013/03 notes that around 40% of applicants to FECs do not go through UCAS which limits the availability of early data on FEC applications.

16 Updates

17 HEFCE funded provision In FECs receive direct funding from HEFCE 65 of these were not in receipt of direct funding in but were allocated numbers from the 20,000 places made available under the ‘margin’. 155 FECs collectively received 10,354 places. It appears that c 2,700 are unfilled (compared to 4,000 at HEIs). The colleges undershooting were largely those with smaller allocations (under 75). (HEFCE 2013/03)

18 Widening participation and non-continuation indicators for further education colleges. Overview of trends HEFCE, August 2012, 2012/20 Using ILR and HESA data to Previously UK HE performance indicators did not include (prescribed) HE provision for students registered at FECs. Now to be produced annually In FECs the proportions of registered entrants who were from low participation neighbourhoods (LPNs) were higher than those proportions of taught entrants

19 Destinations of leavers from higher education in further education colleges. Key findings: leavers up to academic year HEFCE, January 2013, 2013/01 The first publication of destination information for higher education provision registered at HEFCE-funded FECs Previously the data for franchised students (i.e. registered at HEIs) was captured in the HEI’s data but not that for directly funded students (i.e. registered at the FEC) Derived from responses to the Higher Education in Further Education Destinations of Leavers from the Higher Education (HE in FE DLHE) survey to To be produced annually

20 Shaping the future: opportunities for HE provision in FE colleges. MEG and 157 Group, 157 Group, October 2012 Report of a survey conducted May 2012 among members of MEG and the 157 Group: uses data for provided by HEFCE but survey data is for found it difficult to capture data on NPHE. Notes the volume of full cost funded NPHE is not collected

21 Higher education in England. Impact of the 2012 reforms, HEFCE, March 2013, 2013/03 Contains data on enrolment and trends. Includes a section ‘How have further education colleges which offer higher education been affected?’ summarising numbers and reporting on the results of the survey conducted between November 2012 and January 2013 asking colleges about opportunities and challenges for the college and their students (p43).

22 2013/03 - HEFCE funded numbers in FECs Full-time undergraduate provision in FECs grew overall between and Franchise numbers dropped by slightly more than 4,000 (almost 15%) But directly funded places increased by 7,500 (26%) Overall (direct and franchise) the number of full-time undergraduates increased by around 3,500 (almost 6%)

23 2013/03 - Recruitment The drop in overall full-time undergraduate applications and acceptances (UK applicants) is much greater for mature students There was a significant fall in part-time recruitment to HE overall, especially for undergraduate provision. Part-time students are more likely to be non-traditional and to be mature Colleges reported (in the survey) a drop in demand for part- time courses because of a reluctance to take out student loans particularly among mature students

24 2013/03 - Partnerships HEFCE reports indications from HEIs that FECs are filling their own places before franchise places which ‘would be a contributing factor to under-recruitment at universities’. ‘These and other issues are causing some universities to review their franchise provision, leading in some cases to withdrawals from these partnerships’. (para 100)

25 Links Understanding higher education in further education colleges. BIS Research paper number 69, June Gareth Parry, University of Sheffield, Claire Callender, Peter Scott and Paul Temple, Institute of Education, University of London. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding- higher-education-in-further-education-colleges HE in FE Guide, AoC supported by LSIS, AoC Also on the HEA website


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