PLANS to expand two-year degree courses at universities in England have been approved by the House of Lords.
As a result, universities will be able to charge higher fees for these shorter, more intensive courses from this September.
But the government conveys students who take up two-year degrees will still save at least £5,500 in total tuition costs compared with a standard course.
Universities UK says some institutions already offer fast-track degrees, but demand for them has been limited.
Universities will be allowed to charge up to 20% more each year for these courses, in recognition of the increased teaching time required.
But the Department for Education says the overall tuition fee cost to the student will be at least 20% less than the same degree over three years – around £11,000 a year for two years, instead of £9,250 a year for three.
Squeezing a full degree into two years is seen as being more appealing to people who are in work or with family commitments.
These accelerated courses offer the same qualification, but are delivered in a shorter, more intensive time span.
A two-year accelerated degree will condense three-year degrees with 30 weeks’ teaching into two years with 45 weeks’ teaching.
These courses would also mean students can save on a year’s living costs and accommodation.
The DfE says it expects the move to remove barriers for a number of under-represented groups, including mature students.