UK university value for money falling, say students08/06/17Education
Levels of satisfaction with university “value for money” have fallen for the fifth year in a row, according to an annual study of student attitudes.
The Student Academic Experience Survey tracks the views of the UK higher education student experience, and is based on a sample of approximately 14,000 current students.
The study found perceptions of value for money had continued to fall – and that the number of students saying their university was “poor” or “very poor” value had nearly doubled since 2012.
Director of the Higher Education Policy Unit (HEPI), Nick Hillman, said: “The survey shows students want universities to provide information on where fees go, taxpayers to cover more of the costs and policy makers to provide stronger arguments for future fee rises.”
Five years ago, 53% of students across the UK thought university was “good” or “very good” value – but this has decreased to its lowest level of 35%.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties have defended the current system of fees and loans, wherein students do not make repayments until they are earning £21,000 (~€24,000).
In Scotland, where there are no tuition fees, 56% of students thought university was “good” or “very good” value for money, however this too was lower than the previous year.
47% of students from Wales thought university was good value, whilst a rate of 42% was tracked in Northern Ireland.
In England, only 32% of students thought their university provided satisfactory value.
Students on medicine and dentistry courses were the most likely to feel they were getting value for money, while social studies and business students were reportedly more likely to feel that they were not, the report found.
The HEPI-run study similarly examines wellbeing and happiness, where 14% of students reported life satisfaction. As a result, students report lower levels of wellbeing than young people who aren’t enrolled at university.
The survey showed universities need to “think ever more deeply about how to respond to the individual characteristics of each student”, Hillman added.