Numbers nearly double

The inspection found that the rapid growth of HE students in colleges has not impaired standards. Numbers rose from 31,700 in 1988-89 to 60,700 in 1995-96, an increase of 91 per cent. This represented one in five of all FE students.

The number of mature students enrolling on HE college courses has also risen significantly, with over-25s standing at 30,200 in 1996 compared with 12, 400 eight years previously.

There are now 53 first degree courses offered by FE colleges compared with just 12 in 1988. Higher national certificate and diploma courses number just under 3,000.

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