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Increase in number of people with a degree in Cornwall

The work of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) has been recognised during the launch of new data, looking at access into Higher Education (HE).  The maps produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) reveal ‘cold spots’ in degree places and entry rates into university; these include parts of south-west England, Cumbria and the south east.

Tessa Counsell, Director of HE Development at The Cornwall College Group, delivered a presentation to an audience of specially invited guests at Westminster, as part of the launch for the interactive maps, she said:  “These maps give a picture of the take up of higher education in Cornwall, adding much more depth and detail to what we already know.  This information will help us to plan future developments and thanks to the partnership of CUC members we will continue to build on the solid foundations already put in place.”

The map, is the first of a series that probe the relationships between higher education, student mobility, employment and undergraduate study participation.  HEFCE said that the interactive data can be used by universities to help provide local solutions to gaps in provision.

Tessa continued: “There are residual cold spots in Cornwall which will need a sustained effort to address the level of participation, but according to this data there are previous ‘cold spots’ with very strong levels of engagement.”

Since the launch of CUC in 2001 over 4,000 additional student places have been created in Cornwall and over 200 new courses.  This has been achieved thanks to an investment of over £315 million pounds, with funding from European Regional Development and European Social Fund investment, HEFCE, the South West Regional Development Agency and the universities and colleges themselves. 

The Combined Universities in Cornwall represents a partnership between five education establishments: The Cornwall College Group, the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, Plymouth University and Truro and Penwith College, along with Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, who are CUC associate members.

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said: “As the Government seeks to ensure that economic recovery and growth is more evenly shared across different localities and industry sectors, universities and colleges continue to play a critical role in supplying a highly educated and skilled workforce, providing opportunities for individuals, while meeting the needs of the economy and society.

Tessa added: “The data shows us that the issues associated with HE cold spots can often be complex. Higher education providers, working collaboratively with their local enterprise partnerships, will be able to use this powerful new toolkit to establish a detailed picture of HE in their localities, enabling them to identify any gaps in provision, participation and the supply of graduates. This provides a strong evidence base to explore potential solutions for delivering local economic recovery and growth.”

Tess Counsell added: “We have come a long way since the partnership was launched.  The most recent figures show that, in 2013, over 40% of the 15,000 students from Cornwall who were enrolled on a university-level course in the UK attended a CUC partner institution.  Similarly, the number of students from Cornwall studying at postgraduate level with a CUC partner had reached nearly 1,000 by 2013.”  

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