UK universities to consider three-day study weeks amid cost of living crisis

Compact timetables fill a shortened week with classes

Many universities are considering condensed weeks to ease the cost of attending classes for students. PA
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Universities are looking at three-day weeks to help students struggling with the cost of living crisis, according to reports.

More than half of students in 2023 work alongside classes and up to two thirds of first years in the autumn expect to have a part-time job, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service said.

Innovations to help students include compact timetables where classes fill a shortened week rather than have lessons spread more thinly over five days, according to The Guardian, which first reported the development.

De Montfort University in Leicester said it was introducing the new course timetable after a successful pilot project last academic year.

“The change allows for more compact timetables and this sits around students’ lives better,” said vice-chancellor Prof Katie Normington.

“A lot of students are working and have other responsibilities, and it makes organisation of that easier.

“We had great feedback last year from students. Internal surveys show that those on the block-teaching timetable were about 10 per cent happier than those not doing it.”

De Montfort said the pilot timetable last year also saw a rise in local area students.

“Students with a Leicester or Leicestershire postcode rose from 42 to 47 per cent last year,” she said.

“If they are travelling to campus, it is easier and cheaper to do that a couple of times a week rather than four or five times for an hour here and there.”

Several other universities have been identified as having similar plans, including some Anglia Ruskin universities, the University of Law with campuses across the country, and Coventry University’s Dagenham and Greenwich sites.

John Dishman, CEO of Coventry University Group, said: “The model is entirely down to the cost of living issue.

“Barking and Dagenham is the poorest borough of London. People rely on having part-time work and their income is basically maintenance loan and part-time work.

“We have seen it more and more over the last two years or so. People just will not have access to courses unless it is built alongside their ability to work.”

The cost of living is a top concern for more than 75 per cent of students, according to a survey from Advance HE and the Higher Education Policy Institute.

Updated: August 27, 2023, 8:56 PM