Pearson will charge £6,500 a year for a basic three-year university course. Students are expected to be eligible for government loans to cover the fees and Pearson will also be offering “performance scholarships” to help its brightest recruits pay their fees.
Ministers believe a vibrant private sector charging less than the maximum £9,000 fee for their courses could put pressure on existing universities to reduce their fees.
Here’s something interesting from The Independent: Pearson, a FTSE 100 company (meaning part of the London Stock Exchange) and the owner of Penguin and The Financial Times, has decided to recruit 100 undergraduates and start a three-year business degree course, and start handing out its own degrees. David Willets, a member of the British parliament and the Minister of State for Universities and Science, is encouraging more companies in the private sector to start their own degree programs.
In the U.S., private, for-profit colleges are pretty terrible, but this appears to be something entirely different (based on the comparatively affordable price tag alone, and the fact the the government is using this to pressure existing universities to lower fees), and if the program can be designed to transition students from the degree program to start working for companies like Penguin and The Financial Times, even better. I’ll be very interested in seeing how this unfolds.