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The growth in the number of students studying on foundation degree programmes is on track to exceed the government target of 100,000 by 2010, according to a report published today by HEFCE.

The report says that there are 99,475 students enrolled on foundation degree programmes in 2009-10. This includes 53,750 entrants to foundation degree programmes: around 5,000 more than were reported in 2008-09.

David Sweeney, HEFCE’s Director of Research, Innovation and Skills, said:

'The report demonstrates that universities and colleges are on course to exceed the 100,000 figure by a substantial margin in 2010-11. It is also encouraging to see that foundation degrees continue to attract a diverse range of students and are providing highly employable workers in key areas of the economy.'

Minister of State for Higher Education, David Lammy, said:

'Foundation degrees have been one of the great success stories of the last decade, having seen a year on year increase since they were introduced in 2001. Now, one year early, we are just 525 short of our target of 100,000 registered students by 2010-11.

'Building on this success, we announced last week that we will be making an additional 5,000 places available this summer to meet the growing demand for foundation degrees.'

The report found that around half of the full-time entrants to foundation degree programmes in 2008-09 were aged under 20 when they started their course, and around two in every five entrants held A-level and equivalent qualifications on entry. Part-time entrants were older, with 55 per cent aged 30 and over, and increasingly held higher education qualifications on entry (around three in every ten entrants in 2008-09).

In terms of progression and employment outcomes, the report found that:

  • 56 per cent of the entrants in 2007-08 who followed a full-time, two-year programme received a higher education award by 2008-09
  • for part-time students on three-year courses who entered in 2006-07, slightly lower proportions of students received a higher education qualification (47 per cent) by 2008-09
  • 47 per cent of full-time foundation degree qualifiers were in employment six months later, and 65 per cent were undertaking further study
  • higher proportions of part-time qualifiers were in employment six months later (85 per cent), and fewer were undertaking further study (48 per cent)
  • of the foundation degree qualifiers who went on to the final year of an honours degree, 67 per cent graduated in the same year.

Notes

  1. A report by HEFCE, entitled 'Foundation degrees: key statistics 2001-02 to 2009-10', (HEFCE 2010/12), shows that, since their first year in 2001-02, the number of foundation degree students has grown from 4,300 to 99,475 in 2009-10.
  2. The government target of 100,000 by 2010 interprets 2010 as the 2010-11 academic year.
  3. Foundation degree qualifiers who are in employment and undertaking further study at the same time are included in both the proportion in employment six months later and the proportion undertaking further study. As a result, proportions given above do not sum to 100.