Shropshire university is in top three most popular for mature students, report says

A Shropshire university is among the most popular choices for mature students in the UK, according to a report.

Harper Adams
Harper Adams

Searches for ‘courses for mature students’ are said to have risen by 32 per cent in the past month. And, as a result, SunLife submitted a FOI request to 134 universities across the UK to find out which schools have the most mature students aged 50 and above in the academic year 2022/23, and which courses they are studying.

Harper Adams University, in Newport, was the third most popular, behind Birbeck, University of London and the University of Cumbria. Harper Adams is a leading specialist school tackling the future development of the planet’s food production, animal sciences, sustainability and more.

With everything from molecular diagnostics laboratories to processing facilities on site, students can test their theories on the campus’s 494-hectare farm. According to figures, 7.2 per cent of its current students are aged 50 and above. The most popular course is in AMTRA SQP (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority).

Head of Student Recruitment at Harper Adams University, Carl Griffiths, said: “This research, placing Harper Adams as the third most popular destination for mature students – and particularly for those over 50 – is an important indicator of the kinds of courses that we offer and the work that we do, highlighting the enduring relevance of the work and education that we offer for students from all backgrounds. The Government have recently announced the new Lifelong Loan Entitlement, marking an important signal change that education, at all levels, is for everyone – and here at Harper Adams, we are big believers in the importance of education, whatever age our students are. We have recently been reviewing our range of courses, and the manner in which we provide them – modules, short courses, diplomas and degrees.

“This work – alongside the work we continually do to keep our courses up to date with the latest industry developments – seeks to ensure that each course meets the needs of those who want to enter higher education and make a difference within their specialist sectors and industries, or indeed those just want to learn more about the importance of food, farming, animal science, engineering and more for the future of our planet.It’s reassuring to see this kind of research providing evidence that, as a specialist institution, we are still reaching learners of all ages and providing the important service we have always done.”

The research found that the East of England has a higher percentage of students over 50 than anywhere else in the UK.

Out of the 126,240 students currently enrolled at a university in the East, 3,146 (2.49 per cent) of them are aged 50 and above.

The West Midlands was second with 2.47 per cent.

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