A COLLEGE in Barnstaple has reported an increase in the number of people choosing to study degree level courses in North Devon
The news that Petroc has seen a boost in the number of degree level students comes at a time when most UK universities are experiencing a decrease in applications.
Data released by admissions body UCAS at the end of 2012 revealed 54,000 fewer people started university courses in the autumn than did in 2011, a drop of 6.6 per cent.
But Petroc saw application numbers increase by one per cent this academic year.
Craig Litster, Petroc's higher education co-ordinator, said he thinks the College has managed to buck the national trend because it offers something most universities can't.
"We offer something very distinctive," he said. "Our students are able to study at degree level without having to leave the area and, thanks to our quality teaching, our pass rates are highly competitive.
"Our fees are £3,500 less than a third of the UK's universities and we offer student loans and supported bursary packages."
Students on degree courses at the college spend two years at Petroc studying for a foundation degree and have the option to spend a further year at Plymouth University to gain a full degree.
And the good news keeps coming for Petroc, where staff have predicted a growth in HE provision over the next few years.
The college will also soon offer full bachelor of arts programmes in North Devon, meaning students will no longer have to leave the area to gain an honours degree.
To find out more about foundation degrees at Petroc call the higher education team on 01271 852365.