Degree Courses – Are they really value for money?

A third of students in England, who pay up to £9,000 in tuition fees, say their degree course is poor or very poor value for money, a study indicates.

A survey of 15,046 UK students found they have just 10 minutes extra with university lecturers despite the rise – for the majority – in fees since 2012.

The findings are revealed by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

The government said students, “quite rightly”, had higher expectations.

Higher tuition fees in England mean undergraduates currently in the first or second year of university study are paying up to £9,000 a year.

The Hepi and HEA research found today’s students in England were more likely to say their course was poor value compared to 2012 – before the fee hike.

One third of current first- and second-year students (33%) said they were receiving poor or very poor value for money, compared with 18% in 2012.

And just 36% of these students thought their course represented good value for money, compared with 52% in 2012.

But the study found students in Scotland were more likely to say their course was worth the money, with 70% of those at Scottish universities rating their course as good or very value.

However, Scottish students pay no tuition fees, if they study at a university in Scotland.

The Hepi/HEA report says regional differences in perceptions of value for money are “not unexpected given that Scottish and other EU-domiciled students from outside the UK, who constitute the vast majority of students at Scottish institutions, effectively pay no fees”.

‘Contact’ time

When asked what their top three priorities would be for institutional expenditure, 48% of UK students polled said “reducing fee levels”, followed by having more teaching hours and reducing the size of teaching groups (both 35%).

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