SHEFFIELD College is planning to offer more higher education options next year to cater for students shopping around for the best value courses.
The move comes as universities increase their tuition fees next September to as much as £9,000 a year, raising fears some teenagers could turn their backs on college.
But maximum fees at Sheffield College are being capped at £5,900, providing young people with a more affordable alternative.
Currently the college has around 500 students on higher education courses, mostly two-year foundation degrees which provide training for a particular career combined with academic studies.
Graduates - who study full time or part time - will receive their certificates at a the Cutlers’ Hall this Friday.
But more places will be available for the 2012-13 academic year as the college takes advantage of a Government drive to recruit 20,000 extra students at institutions charging less than £7,500 a year.
Currently around ten per cent of higher education courses are run by further education colleges, but this figure is expected to increase.
Sheffield College chief executive Heather MacDonald said: “Our high quality foundation degrees are extremely popular and offer good value for money.
“We want to offer more places to meet demand but until now there has been a Government cap on the number of students we can recruit.
“Our provision means students who want to stay local and not add to the debt burden of living away from home, or who want to revolve their studies around work and family, can still benefit from all the opportunities that studying for a higher education course brings.”
Some foundation degree students go on to complete a final year at Sheffield Hallam to turn their college qualification into a university honours degree.
Others go directly into employment.
Students from homes with incomes of less than £25,000 a year may be eligible for financial help.
Courses available at the college include business management and enterprise, fashion design and manufacture, graphic design, media production, performing arts, photography, public services, sports coaching and exercise, and tourism and events management.