College’s dismay as university ends link

STUDENTS’ hopes of studying degree courses at New College Stamford have been dashed after the University of Lincoln withdrew its support.

The college was previously able to offer validated degree courses thanks to a partnership with the university.

But principal Andrew Patience was told in January the partnership would not continue, despite many students having applied and been interviewed for courses beginning this September.

Many teenagers’ carefully considered higher education plans have been thrown into chaos by the decision. Chelsea Nelms, from Pointon, applied to start the BA in graphic design course at Stamford this year.

She said: “When the uni pulled its support it really threw me. I was not happy when I found out I wouldn’t be able to do course I had applied for.

“I know the course, I know the people and I like the area. It’s caused a lot of conflict within my family as well. It’s been a tough time. My options have really been limited.”

Sian Mulqueen, from Whittlesey, wanted to do a foundation degree course in photography. She said: “Thankfully the college’s replacement course is quite similar, but it’s caused a lot of uncertainty and inconvenience. With the original course the degree validation was pretty much automatic but with the change I’ll have to apply to different unis after two years.”

South Kesteven District Council plans to raise the issue with the university’s vice chancellor.

Coun Robert Hearmon, speaking on behalf of the council’s scrutiny committee, said: “It seems wrong that students who applied to do a course at Stamford next year are now being forced to look elsewhere. Students are being denied the opportunity to study locally, flexibly and part-time.”

College principal Andrew Patience agreed, calling the decision “unethical.”

He said: “I find it strange that the university has decided it doesn’t want to be associated with the college in this way. We’re not happy with the decision, and we are now looking to establish relationships with other universities in order to keep on top of the demand for higher education in the town.”

A university spokesman said: “The current higher education context is changing rapidly, with caps on student numbers and significant cuts in government funding for the sector.

“The University of Lincoln wishes to maintain good relations with all its partner colleges and will of course honour its commitment to the college for existing students already enrolled.”