As Universities Week is celebrated throughout the UK this week, Middlesex will mark the festivities with a message to a group not usually associated with university life.
With funding and student fees constantly in the news, staff at Middlesex have noticed a big increase in interest and enquiries from parents, keen to learn more about how fees will affect their children and what's in store for young people following the changes to universities across the country.
The Government announced last year that student fees would increase from 2012 as central funding for universities was withdrawn, with universities also asked to show how they will ensure they are accessible to all students regardless of their background.
Alisa Quinn, who works with parents and young people interested in studying at Middlesex, said: "Every year we get around 7000 people coming to our open-days and in the past this has always been nearly exclusively young people and potential students, but this year the number of parents attending has doubled."
"Parents are now as thirsty for information as anyone else, particularly local parents, and when we launched our first ever parents only open-evening recently, over 500 people from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey came along. This week we’re launching a parents e-newsletter and web page to meet this demand."
Following Government announcements on changes to the way Universities are funded, many parents are now seeking clarification on how fees are paid and whether University life is still affordable.
Alisa Quinn said: "We recognise that students are concerned about higher fees so we are keen to work with local parents and young people to ensure they know that fees are not paid up front and are only repaid once students graduate and are earning £21,000 a year.
"A range of scholarships and bursaries will also be available to ensure financial support is there for lower income families, particularly for students who have the talent to benefit from University but may assume it’s out of their reach."
"Of course it's a concern to all Universities that young people will wonder if getting a degree is still worth the money, but we're confident that they will still see higher education as the best investment anyone can make in their future. Recent studies have shown that degree holders earned an average of £12,000 a year more than non-graduates over the past decade, and of course you can't put a price on the life experience you gain."
To mark Universities Week 13-19 June, Middlesex is launching a parent's e-newsletter so local parents can keep up to date with the latest on student funding, bursaries, scholarships and university life in general. Parents sign up on a new section of the Middlesex website specifically for parents www.mdx.ac.uk/parents.
A brochure for parents and more campus parents evenings are also in the pipeline to meet the growing need for information and advice. "We've been surprised but pleased at how many parents are now really interested in what's on offer here at Middlesex,” said Alisa Quinn. “I also think some local parents are looking more and more to London based universities as they are concerned about the extra living costs of their children studying a long way from home."
Universities Week facts:
• Over 1000 people from Barnet apply to study undergraduate degrees at Middlesex University every year (1330 last year)
• Middlesex has received over 25,000 applications for degrees starting this autumn, an 11% increase on last year
• Nationally, degree holders earned an average of £12,000 a year more than non-graduates over the past decade. After adjusting to allow for increases in earnings over the period, the data show that graduates aged 22 to 64 had median salaries of £29,900 compared with £17,800 for non-degree holders.
• In 2009/10 there were nearly 2.5million students at UK higher education institutions.
• Middlesex University has around 34,000 students based at campuses in north London, Dubai and Mauritius and at partner institutions