The Association of Colleges (AoC) represents and promotes the 341 Colleges in England incorporated under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, including 94 Sixth Form Colleges and 247 Further Education Colleges which:
Educate 853,000 people aged 16 to 18, almost twice as many as school sixth forms. This includes 185,000 young people taking A-levels;
Train over one quarter of the total 240,000 apprentices aged 16 to 18;
Educate and train over two million people aged 19 and over;
Account for 33% of entrants to higher education and for 11% of those studying for degrees and degree level qualifications such as HNC and HND and Foundation Degrees.
Almost 300 Colleges offer HE ranging from those with less than 100 students to those with more than 3,000. In some medium sized towns or counties without a university Colleges provide an university equivalent service. In other towns with national and international facing universities the College provides an HE service for mainly local people and employers.
In many smaller towns, Colleges provide a vital HE service for people unable to access a local university due to family and child care commitments or high transport costs.
52% of College HE students only apply for one course at one institution and 70% live within 25 miles of the College campus.
Over 50% of College HE students study part time, mainly on bespoke part time courses.
Recent research commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) indicates that much of College HE provision is complementary to university provision and the major factor influencing College HE student enrolment is controlling living costs whilst studying.