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Tapping a new market

With government challenging universities to further widen participation, Rachel Hall discovers how Coventry University has found its own way to recruit under-represented students.

The metaphor of the phoenix rising from the ashes is a recurrent motif in Coventry. The city’s phoenix initiative envisions its rebirth, from the ashes of post-war development to urban regeneration. Likewise for Coventry University, the logo for which sports a phoenix crest that conveys its ambition to create new models for higher education. The latest incarnation of this strategy takes the shape of Coventry University College, a vocational skills-oriented institution designed to facilitate flexible learning and perhaps allow students to experience a comparable transition of their own.

The college is aimed at those who have “decided that the traditional student experience is not for them”, proclaims its website. Its first cohort graduated in 2015 after completing courses designed to meet the standards for accreditation by professional bodies. The college has some access to university facilities and draws on the its experience, but operates independently. Annual tuition fees are just £6,000 and degrees can be built in stages, with foundation courses leading onto Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas and full honours degrees.

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