Local Impact of College based Higher Education



Back to news

The Local Impact of College Based Higher Education National Report.

In Feb 2016, RCU produced over 200 individual ‘College Higher Education Local Impact Summary’ (CHELIS) reports which were sent out to all GFE colleges who delivered Higher Education. These reports, commissioned by the Education & Training Foundation and supported by the Association of Colleges, the Mixed Economy Group (MEG) and the 157 Group, were specifically designed to support colleges with their future curriculum planning and in preparation for local area-based reviews.

Using data derived from these individual college CHELIS reports, we have also developed a national level report, which has now been published by the Education & Training Foundation and is available on their website. A copy of this national report is also available to download here.

This national report provides a useful insight into college based higher education as a whole and reveals the extent to which it differs from University provision in meeting local economic and social needs. It includes comparisons between college based higher education and undergraduate provision delivered by Universities which illustrate differences in both recruitment patterns and the subject areas offered by the respective sectors.

Sheila Kearney, Head of Research at ETF comments:

“We hope that the individual tailored reports that have been sent to all the relevant colleges, are proving helpful to them in analysing the available data relating to their HE provision.  Now that we have published this report giving the national picture, they will be able to compare it with their own data.  We also hope, through this project, to highlight the need for better data in this area of provision.”

As reported in the TES, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute, was also pleased that the research confirmed the positive impact of colleges in their communities:

“We know there has been a drop in part-time higher education numbers nationally, so I am pleased further education colleges are still offering flexible routes in higher education to adults who want to get on in life and in work.”

Some key findings from the analysis

In 2013/14 there were 1,605,890 undergraduate HE learners of which just under 10% attended an FE College and the profile of learners by mode of study for HEIs and FE Colleges is very different. Three quarters of all undergraduates attending HEIs are engaged in full-time courses and 25% study part-time. In contrast, the full-time and part-time split in FE Colleges is almost equal (51% and 44%) and 5% of learners are studying in the workplace. An analysis of the average travel to learn distance (from home postcode to learning location) shows that on average students at FE Colleges travel 17 miles while those studying at HEIs travel 52 miles.  This is also supported by the fact that 78% of HE learners recruited by FE Colleges live within the local LEP while just 37% attending HEIs reside in the local LEP area.

For more information download the full report here

Sign up to our email marketing newsletter

Receive all the latest RCU news updates and events when you subscribe today.

Sign up