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Part-time student numbers collapse by 56% in five years

One architect of government policy on support for part-timers admits the result has been a ‘catastrophe’ for universities and students

As Claire Gray scans her customers’ shopping at the checkout in Waitrose in Wells, Somerset, she is imagining her future as a lawyer. In October, Gray, 46, will start juggling a part-time law degree at the Open University alongside her supermarket job. “I’m a bit nervous about studying,” she admits. “But I can’t wait to get started. This is me taking control of my future.”

Gray worked hard at school and sixth-form college, and was set to join the air force as an officer when she learned she had a degenerative spinal condition that means she has to walk with a stick. Later, as a single parent, she couldn’t find a way to juggle work, study and childcare. “Getting a degree is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” she says. “Now I’m taking out a loan to pay for my fees, which is daunting, but if I don’t do this before I retire I’ll be sorry.”

Related: It’s time to lobby against the collapse in part-time student numbers

Linking You to the Power of Learning: http://studentlinkglobal.com

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