LONDON South Bank Students’ Union has been working with the Government’s new Office for Students and a consortium of other Students’ Unions to find out if getting a degree, in your opinion, is worth it.
A few weeks ago, several hundred of you completed our Value for Money research, that identified not only if you felt tuition fees were too high, but what your fees should and shouldn’t be spent on.
Today, the national research findings are released and we wanted to share these with you, in a few weeks a specific LSBU report will be released, and your students’ union will begin working with the University to take onboard your views and opinions.
- Only 38% of students think that their tuition fee for their course represents good value for money.
- The percentage is similar (39%) when we look at students’ perception of the other fees and costs incurred during their studies.
- Just over half of students (54%) consider their investment in higher education as being good value for money.
- When considering ‘cross subsidies’, students feel least comfortable with their tuition fees funding teaching on other courses, wider research unrelated to their course and provider management costs (in this order).
- As students get closer to joining the workplace, they become less confident (or more realistic) about repaying their tuition fee and maintenance loans (49% of school students and 37% of higher education students think that they will repay their loan, compared to only 27% of recent graduates).
- 24% of students do not feel that they were informed about how much everything would cost as a student. The main factors cited are the costs of accommodation, books and paying for extracurricular activities.
- Provider quality measures – quality of teaching, fair assessment and feedback, and learning resources – are the top three factors that demonstrate that a provider offers good value for money.
- These measures come ahead of those directly focusing on student outcomes, such as having access to industry connections or securing higher earnings than non-graduates.
- The factors that demonstrate good value for money remain consistent regardless of the stage of the individual’s educational journey (school, current HE student, graduated).
- There is strong support for proposals to improve transparency. When asked about usefulness, measures that allow students to compare expenditure on other courses or at other providers command more support (over 80%) than single factors such as seeing the staff student ratio (69%) or the cost of management salaries (67%).
- Students have a broad conception of value for money. This includes being concerned about inputs as well as outcomes; the full range of charges that a provider levies; and what is included and not included within the ‘fee’.