One of the biggest personal higher training companies in England has long passed into management, leaving students stranded on unfinished courses and searching out alternative places to study.
GSM London, which presented undergraduate and postgraduate business courses at its campuses in Greenwich and Greenford, advised its 3,500 students that all tuition, instructions, and tests would forestall at the end of September.
The for-earnings college said it had been unable to recruit and preserve enough student numbers to stay afloat in what is defined as “noticeably tough marketplace conditions.”
A GSM declaration stated: “Our students may be supported as far as possible even as efforts are made to offer them with knowledgeable options for wherein they may be able to continue their studies beyond the end of the contemporary coaching semester.
“Discussions are already below way with different higher schooling carriers to perceive options, and facts, advice, and steerage can be furnished to students as quickly because the details had been finalized.”
GSM’s dying may be seen as a blow to the government’s tries to open up the better education sector to private providers as part of its marketization of the higher schooling sector. It additionally displays the developing monetary pressures on universities.
The University and College Union, which represents college and university employees, is known as the government to appear once more at what it described because of the “investment unfastened-for-all” around non-public carriers.
“UCU has, again and again, highlighted concerns approximately the marketization of training and the rapid growth in poorly regulated non-public companies,” stated its appearing standard secretary, Paul Cottrell.
“We wish that the authorities finally take a word and appears again at the investment a free-for-all among private providers who revel in an aggressive advantage in being below-regulated, but will constantly position profit earlier than training.”
GSM, which provided tiers confirmed through the University of Plymouth, has claimed a longstanding commitment to widening entry to and participation in higher education, imparting a route to diploma-stage have a look at for students from a wide range of non-conventional educational backgrounds.
With insufficient numbers, it became compelled to seek out additional funding, securing capital cash injections of £22m in the final 3 years. Efforts to find a new consumer earlier this yr failed, and administrators were appointed.
A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson stated: “We are operating intently with the provider and all relevant region our bodies to ensure the scholars affected are given the guide and advice they want to hold their studies.
“We need a large, sustainable marketplace in better training which gives students flexibility and a wide variety of outstanding alternatives for wherein and what they look at. Whilst the extensive majority of institutions are in suitable economic fitness, the DfE and [the universities regulator] the Office for Students have been clean that neither will bail out failing companies.”
Nearly one in four universities in England had been in deficit the last yr. The wide variety of universities in England with working deficits in 2017-18 increased to 32, compared to 24 the 12 months earlier than and 10 in 2015-16. Across the United Kingdom, the range reporting deficits rose to 47 compared with 40 in 2016-17.
Commenting on the fall apart of GSM, the Office for Students stated: “We take into account that this information might be disturbing for the students and team of workers at GSM. We remember that some college students who’re nearing the top of their studies can live at GSM; however, it’s miles in all likelihood that most will want to switch to any other better education issuer.
“We are, therefore, working with the DfE and companions across the higher education sector to make sure that scholars are supported and can make informed choices about the alternatives that are to be had to them to transfer and preserve their studies, or receive suitable popularity for their educational achievements to this point.”