Fines to crack down on ‘Mickey Mouse’ university degrees: Colleges could be hit with penalties of up to £500,000 for courses failing to deliver jobs

  • Students who cannot find a career as a student at a university are subject to fines
  • This threshold requires that at least 60% students be sent to work by courses
  • The plans could see institutions fined up to £500,000 or effectively shut down
  • The Office for Students wishes to end ‘low-quality courses’ with these plans.

University They could be fined if 60 percent of students are not able to find a job as a professional in the wake of a crackdown on Mickey Mouse-style courses.

Plans could see institutions fined up to £500,000, stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down.

The Office for Students (OfS), which is trying to get rid of low-quality courses, has set a new threshold that requires courses to send at most 60 percent of students for professional or further studies.

Additionally, at minimum 80 percent of students shouldn’t drop out of school within the first year. 75 percent should graduate. 

Office for Students wants to eliminate 'low-quality' courses by setting a threshold requiring courses to send at least 60 per cent of students to further study or professional employment

Office for Students wants courses of low quality to be eliminated by requiring that they send at least 60% of their students for further education or employment.

These rules were published today and include an “requires improvement” rating in TEF, which is the university ratings system.

Universities with this rating will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. These rules were created to combat ‘Mickey Mouse” degrees that have low success rates for postgraduates.

Some courses are not conventional and could be affected by the new rules. One example is the University of Sunderland’s BA Fashion Journalism. Here students will learn essential skills, such as how to report on catwalks or the history of Chanel. 

Only 40% of them will be able to find highly skilled employment within the first 15 months.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of rising to the challenge of a professional job within 15 months.

Michelle Donelan, Universities Minister, welcomed the ‘crackdown. She added: “Students go to university in pursuit of a life-changing education that will help them pave their way towards highly skilled careers.

“Any university which fails to achieve this aim must be punished.”

OfS discovered that less than half the students at 25 universities find work in their first 15 months. 

OfS found at 25 universities, less than half of students find professional work within 15 months, including London Metropolitan (39.8 per cent). Pictured: File photo of London Metropolitan

OfS was found in 25 universities. Less than half the students are able to find work within 15 month, which includes London Metropolitan (39%). Pictured: File photo of London Metropolitan

Birkbeck in London (31.6%), University of Bedfordshire (33.5%), and London Metropolitan (39.8%).

University of Bedfordshire business and management degrees (14.8 percent) are the most unlikely to result in graduate-level positions. 

Miss Donelan mentioned eight computing programs with 40% dropout rates and said: “There is simply no excuse.” 

She said, “Our university system has been praised as being world-class but there are too few pockets of low quality.”

“Through this strict regulatory action, we are protecting our students from being letdown by these institutions.

According to the OfS, students should not receive a performance below what we expect from them. Students will likely be required to pay substantial amounts.

Nicola Dandridge of the OfS stated that rules are likely to ‘generate substantial debate’ and would be open for consultation.

According to the University of Sunderland, they always look for ways to improve their outcomes. 

University College Birmingham claimed that there was insufficient data about graduates, and what constitutes ‘professional work.