With changes to Government funded education due to kick in this academic year, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) have released a research into the implication and attitudes towards changes within adult courses.
Government proposals plan to divert funding away from adult (24+) leaners on Level 3 or above courses and focus instead on younger, lower-qualified learners. This has already raised concerns that this move would lead to up to 100,000 fewer learners.
To help bridge this funding gap the Government will introduce learner loans to cover the up-front costs of further education (FE), these 24+ Advanced Learning Loans will be available in the coming academic year - with the first full year in 2014/15.
Attitudes to New Learning Loans
A report to assess the resulting attitudes and motivational impact on learners has been released. This report is broken down into 4 key groups examining:
- 40+ learners, in particular the unemployed
- Learners with mental, physical or learning disabilities
- Muslim learners
These initial findings show common themes amongst attitudes to motivation, ability to pay for courses, financial awareness and attitudes to the principal of Government funded education.
The 24+ Advanced Learning Loan was found to be less likely to appeal to the 40+ age group and Muslim learners; demonstrating a larger barrier to take-up of FE than in other groups.
Despite many respondents claiming their motivation would not be strong enough to continue into further education with these higher costs, the report claims that this should not be taken at 'face value'. Previous research into the learner journey has found that learners tend to choose and course and provider before considering its costs. This 'emotional commitment' means they are less likely to object to costs, providing an opportunity for providers to convert this initial enthusiasm into an enduring commitment.
The full report can be read on the BIS website with additional resources and support available here.