Sunderland College has created a new way of studying for a degree, part time, over a four year period, for just over £8000.
Nigel Harrett, vice principal for curriculum and business development at Sunderland College said: “Degrees are valuable qualifications that enable students to progress further down their chosen career path. But inevitably fees are putting some people off.
“Not only that but full time study just isn’t an option for all students. Many work to support themselves while they study, or have family commitments.
“We’ve been looking at ways to address both of these and have created a new flexible way of learning which means that our students can get a high quality, but great value, degree.”
Students can achieve a degree qualification by completing HNC and HND courses before going on to study a degree top-up course.
Nigel said: “We already have a number of students each year who successfully qualify to degree standard, but I’m hoping that the new four year part time course will encourage many more to study to this level. In fact, two of our students have just graduated with first class honours in Tourism Management.”
Because of the way the qualifications are combined to achieve degree level, the cost of studying across the four-year period is also lower than studying a degree at some of the region’s universities. The total cost of the four year course at Sunderland College being around £8400.
Nigel Harrett, vice principal for curriculum and business development at Sunderland College said: “Sunderland College students are learning at one of the UK’s highest ranked colleges for teaching quality and success rates, and achieving an internationally recognised qualification, just at a more affordable price.”
The two Tourism Management students that have achieved degrees are Nestah Masiiwa, 35, and Samantha Prescott, 26.
Samantha, from Redhouse, Sunderland, said: “I’ve always had an interest in travel and tourism and the course has only helped confirm my passion for the industry.
“I would certainly recommend the course, we visited New York and all the lecturers were really supportive, particularly of my unusual dissertation topic.
“I’m still deciding what I would like do in the future although it will certainly be something within the industry.”
Nestah, from Wallsend, spent nearly three years working in hotels at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe before moving to the UK to study tourism management. She said: “Every bit of the course I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve learnt so much and my placement at the Newcastle Tourism Information Centre was very useful.
“I’ve now decided to do some voluntary tourism work and continue in my education by doing a masters course.”
Mike Renshaw, programme leader for travel and tourism HE at Sunderland College said: “It’s a fantastic achievement, and just shows that studying for a degree in this way does lead to top qualifications.”
Sunderland College ranks highly nationally for its teaching quality and success rates. A report last week ranked the college 23 out of 235 colleges nationwide for its success rates.
In addition the college recently ranked highly in a review undertaken by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Sunderland College was awarded the highest grade in the Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review (IQER) which looks at the standards of colleges delivering higher education.