Nearly Half of UK Students Claim University is “Poor Value” for Money This Year

44 percent of students across the United Kingdom believe their degree offered “poor or very poor” value for money this academic year, a survey assembled by Advance HE and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has revealed.

The survey throwing light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student academic experience has included 10,000 full-time undergraduate students pursuing studies in the UK, Erudera.com reports.

“Most courses are around the same price, so quality of teaching is well worth the value, however COVID undermines what we’re paying for because I’m sure in person it would be great, but online isn’t worth £9k+,” a student said.

This year is the first time that more students felt disappointed by their universities rather than satisfied since the survey started 15 years ago. Only 27 percent of student participants in the survey said they have received “good or very good” value.

Despite 54 percent of students reporting too little in-person contact with other students, and 51 percent saying there was too little in-person interaction with staff, 58 percent of students said they would pursue the same course and study at the same university again. Differently, 29 percent of students said they thought of leaving higher education, with 34 percent of them giving mental and emotional health issues as the main reason.

Two out of three students claimed their university is committed to eliminating racial inequalities within the institution, yet only 53 percent of Black students shared the same opinion in this regard.

The survey also found that students from England hold the lowest positive perceptions of value. Data show that levels are also low among students from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland as well as among EU students in the country.

”In a year when students and staff have faced unprecedented challenges, there are many salutary findings on issues like value-for-money perceptions and students’ experiences against their original expectations,” the Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman said.

Nevertheless, Hillman added that the survey results are not as negative as some might expect as they reflect ”tremendous resilience,” with the majority of students saying they would not change their choice of study and where to pursue studies despite the disruption.

Whereas, the Advance HE Chief Executive, Alison Johns, pointed out that by using evidence such as this report, it is necessary to engage and listen very carefully to students while building the post-pandemic recovery and shaping the academic experience.

”We should also very carefully consider how we address the widely different academic experience of ethnic groups and the deeply worrying and rapidly escalating crisis in student mental health. We will continue to work hard with the sector to do this,” Johns said.

Following the survey findings, the Chief Executive of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, said the results were “disappointing, albeit not surprising,” adding that universities will reflect on student feedback and that more in-person teaching and other activities will take place next year.

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