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Journal Article

The motivations and outcomes of studying for part-time mature students in higher education


Publication date



This paper examines the motivations and outcomes for mature students who study part-time in higher education (HE) in the UK. Although many students in HE are mature part-time learners, they have not been the specific focus of much research or policy interest. In-depth narrative interviews were carried out with 18 graduates who had studied part-time at a university college specialising in part-time provision. The sample was drawn from a quantitative survey of 1539 graduates concerning their motivations for studying and the benefits derived. Researchers could therefore choose respondents on the basis of previously reported outcomes of study and on other life course information, which was included in the survey. The paper reports a wide range of motivations and outcomes, which are regarded as forms of capital, and illustrates how studying part-time as a mature student can have a profound effect on people’s lives.

Published in

International Journal of Lifelong Education

Volume and page numbers

30 , 591 -612





not held in Res Lib - bibliographic reference only


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