The TaxPayers’ Alliance has compiled Britain’s first ever list of university “non-courses” – university degrees that lend the respectability of scholarly qualifications to non-academic subjects – and calculated their annual cost to students and taxpayers.
The huge expansion in student numbers in recent years, encouraged by the Government’s 50 per cent higher education target, has resulted in a proliferation of different degree courses on offer.
Unfortunately, a number of these new courses are of dubious academic merit, offering training better learned on-the-job. In the worst cases, they offer neither intellectual stimulation nor any improvement in employment prospects.
The cost of these “non-courses” falls on tw o groups: students, who are diverted from useful training and work experience by the lure of a degree; and taxpayers, who still pay for most of the cost of educating every student, despite university tuition fees.
The key findings of this report are:
- “Non-courses” are costing taxpayers over £40 million a year.
- If the £40 million cost of “non-courses” was spent on other undergraduates, it could cut their fees by £104 a year, or pay for a pint of beer a week for each student.
- There are 401 “non-courses” across Britain in the 2007-08 academic year.
- 89 different institutions offer one or more “non-courses”.
- The institution with the greatest number of “non-courses” on offer is the University of Derby, which offers 41 “non-courses”.
- In our judgement, top of the list for “non-courses” is “Outdoor Adventure with Philosophy” at Marjon College in Plymouth.