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17.08.04
New study shows strong demand for higher education in Cornwall

One in three people in Cornwall want to take a higher education course, according to a major new study commissioned by the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC). Consultants KPMG spoke to 1,000 local residents in Cornwall aged between 16 and 65, and one third of them said they were likely to start studying for a higher education qualification over the next five years. Over 70% of those surveyed also said they were strongly in favour of the expansion of higher education opportunities in Cornwall.

The CUC engaged KPMG to conduct an independent study looking into the demand for university level courses in Cornwall. From a survey of almost 2,000 national and international applicants to undergraduate courses, telephone surveys, focus groups and analysis of government statistics, KPMG estimates that there will be a demand for 9,500 full-time student places in Cornwall by 2010. The CUC is currently planning a second phase of development to increase the number of places to 8,000 by that date, suggesting that the CUC's partner colleges and universities will have more than enough applicants wishing to take up these new opportunities to study.

Of the local residents who said they are likely to start a course, two thirds would prefer to study part-time and 90% would welcome a flexible approach to learning using combinations of daytime and evening study, distance learning, tuition in the workplace and learning via the Internet. Part of the CUC's future plans includes the expansion of flexible learning provision in the region to ensure that higher education opportunities are accessible to as many people in Cornwall as possible.

People in Cornwall are also more likely to start a higher education course than people in England as a whole. In 2002 / 2003 almost 5.5% of people aged under 30 in Cornwall entered higher education for the first time, compared to just over 4.5% for England, and the rate of growth for Cornwall continues to outstrip the national trend.

CUC Coordinator Gordon Kelly gave his reaction to the study: "We knew there was a real appetite for university-level education in Cornwall, but the level of interest has completely exceeded our expectations, both from local residents and from others who are drawn by the unique lifestyle we enjoy here. We can now move forward with our plans for a second phase of development with added confidence.

The equivalent of 4,250 full-time students are currently studying at the universities and colleges that make up the CUC partnership, which is 30% ahead of the target for this year. Some courses still have a few places available starting in September, details of which are available at www.cuc.ac.uk.

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Editor's notes:

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's renaissance. This partnership combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Falmouth College of Arts, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

For more information, please contact David Kirk in the CUC PR & Communications Office.

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Sue Wolstenholme
Objective One Communications
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01579 370991

lmroberts@cornwall.gov.uk

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