Mature Student Recruitment to Foundation Year Provision
Mature learners are highlighted as being intrinsically motivated to attend Higher Education (HE) and therefore adopt a meaningful learning approach. Consequently, mature learners are considered an important demographic and make significant contributions to the culture of HE. After the Educational Reform of 1997, the widening participation agenda increased numbers of mature learners in HE (Murphy and Roopchand, 2003). However UCAS (2017) analysis indicates that mature learner applications to HE via UCAS are in decline and the current study aimed to examine factors that have contributed to this. For this investigation, researchers adopted a pragmatic approach to research where the application of findings were at the forefront of the research. Using a focus group method, researchers explored mature learner experiences of the recruitment process. In total, five participants took part in a focus group; all were HE students studying Foundation Year Psychology at the University of Bolton. Thematic analysis highlighted several drivers of hesitancy mature learners experience proceeding their applications to foundation year provision. It is proposed that such drivers have the potential to inhibit motivations to apply. The current paper proposes recommendations for practice, focusing on recruitment of mature learners to foundation year provision.