One of the largest non-public providers of higher training in England has long gone into management, leaving students stranded on unfinished guides and seeking out opportunity locations to have a look at. GSM London, which supplied undergraduate and postgraduate enterprise courses at its campuses in Greenwich and Greenford, advised its three,500 students that everyone training, lessons, and checks could forestall at the quit of September.
The for-profit university said it had been not able to recruit and hold sufficient scholar numbers to remain afloat in what it described as “quite difficult marketplace situations.” A GSM declaration said: “Our students will be supported as a way as viable whilst efforts are made to provide them with informed options for in which they may be capable of preserving their studies beyond the stop of the current teaching semester.
“Discussions are already underway with different higher education vendors to discover options, and records, advice, and steerage can be provided to students as soon as the information was finalized.” GSM’s dying may be visible as a blow to government attempts to open up the higher schooling quarter to private companies as part of its marketization of the higher schooling quarter. It additionally reflects the growing monetary pressures on universities. The University and College Union, which represents college and university workers, referred to as on the government to appear again at what is defined as the “funding unfastened-for-all” around personal providers.
“UCU has repeatedly highlighted issues about the marketization of education and the fast increase in poorly regulated non-public vendors,” said its acting standard secretary, Paul Cottrell. “We hope that the authorities finally take notice and appear once more on the funding a free-for-all amongst non-public companies who enjoy an aggressive gain in being beneath-regulated, but will usually position income before schooling.”
GSM, which offered levels tested with the aid of the University of Plymouth, has claimed a longstanding commitment to widening get admission to, and participation in, better education, presenting a course to diploma-level look at for college students from a huge range of non-traditional educational backgrounds.
With inadequate numbers, however, it turned into compelled to are searching for out additional investment, securing capital cash injections of £22m within the last three years. Efforts to discover a new buyer earlier this 12 months failed and directors were appointed.
A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson stated: “We are working closely with the provider and all applicable sector our bodies to make certain the scholars affected are given the support and advice they want to preserve their research. “We need a vast, sustainable marketplace in better schooling which offers students flexibility and a wide variety of exceptional choices for in which and what they look at. Whilst the giant majority of establishments are in excellent financial fitness, the DfE and [the universities regulator] the Office for Students were clean that neither would bail out failing providers.” Nearly one in four universities in England were in deficit final yr. The range of universities in England with running deficits in 2017-18 increased to 32, as compared with 24 the year earlier than and 10 in 2015-sixteen. Across the United Kingdom, the number of reporting deficits rose to 47 compared to forty in 2016-17.
Commenting on the fall apart of GSM, the Office for Students said: “We keep in mind that this information might be annoying for the students and workforce at GSM. We take into account that some college students who’re nearing the stop in their studies may be capable of stay at GSM however it is probably that most will need to transfer to any other higher schooling provider. “We are, therefore, running with the DfE and companions across the higher education region to make sure that students are supported and can make informed alternatives approximately the alternatives that are available to them to transfer and retain their research, or get hold of a suitable reputation for their educational achievements to date.”