By John Butcher in The Conversation.
If you step on to a university campus in any town or city across the UK, chances are that most of the students you will see will all be of a similar age. Yes, there may be the odd “mature student”, but for the most part, a lot of the students look to be in their late teens, or early twenties.
Student numbers have almost doubled over the past 20 years, but during this time there has been a massive decline in the number of mature students – both part-time and full-time. Since 2010 these numbers have dropped by more than 60%, which, to put it bluntly, is nothing short of a disaster.
A person is considered a mature student if they are 21 or over at the start of their studies. The average age for a student to finish their studies is 22, and just 10% of mature students are over 40 when they start their courses.
Les Ebdon, the director of the Office for Fair Access, which aims to promote fair access to higher education, said:
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