A record number of students will start higher education courses at Isle of Man College this term.
The introduction of university tuition fees from September 2014 – and the quality of education on offer at the college’s campuses in Homefield Road and the Nunnery, are both said to be possible factors for the rise.
Gail Corrin, the newly appointed higher education manager, said more than 100 students were due to start undergraduate and HNC or HND higher education programmes either this month or next. It compares with 80 new students last year.
‘The introduction earlier this year of tuition fees from September 2014 onwards may have had an impact on the increasing number of students heading to the College but academic results are also a major factor,’ she said.
The most popular courses have been the BA Hons business studies, BSc Hons computer science and BSc Hons public health and last year 71 per cent of the graduating students gained a 2:1 or first class honours classification.
According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 66 per cent of UK students achieved these grades.
Gail said that as an associate college of the University of Chester, students have the benefit of its ‘excellent online learning resources combined with expert tutors and smaller classes on the island’.
The College hopes to introduce degree programmes which would see students take their first year at the College and then complete their degree at Chester.
‘This will result in a reduced tuition fee burden and also provides valuable off-island experience for students, Gail said. ‘We are currently looking at the viability of offering this model across our existing provision as well as new courses.’
Course considerations include the island’s economic demand and potentially niche areas of study, the historical subject choices of students attending UK universities and the academic and expert capacity to deliver. She said she looks forward to announcing new programmes in the ‘very near future’.
There are still a few places available in some of the degree programmes starting in under four weeks’ time. A new programme for this year is the BA (Hons) combined business studies and computer science.
Gail said: ‘Professionals within a business environment need to be multi-skilled in order to keep up with the technological demands of international business.
‘So expertise in both business practices and the technology that businesses depends on is needed.’