This HEPI paper aims to promote a re-think about the decline in
part-time higher education in England. Most part-time learners
are mature students, and the oft-reported drop in part-time
student numbers can be viewed as a proxy for the retreat of
older learners from higher education. A succession of reports
has been published identifying the dramatic loss of part-time
numbers. Despite the persuasiveness of the quantitative data
cited, policymakers have yet to reverse the decline.