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Students say higher education is of ‘poor value’

By Martine Meland Nov 27, 2014
Almost a third of undergraduate students said they did not get value for money during their time at university, according to a new report by consumer group Which?.

The report showed a number of students found their “university experience was poor value” for the high tuition fees paid, with 49 per cent saying the work given was demanding and only 45 per cent saying lectures are generally worth attending.

Researchers said the views were concerning and called for new legislation and stronger regulation of the standard of UK higher education.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “We want to see better information for prospective students, improved complaints processes and a strong regulator that enforces high standards across the sector.

“The next phase for this market should protect that reputation and help students get the best value for money.”

The report was based on four large scale surveys conducted by Which? of prospective students, undergraduates and graduates and is titled: ‘A degree of value: value for money from the student perspective’.

Jake Robey, a third-year human biology student at Kingston University said: “I pay £45 for each one hour lecture and I don’t really get a whole lot out of them, if I am honest.

“All of last year I basically home-schooled myself, because I found that I could just look at the powerpoint slides on Studyspace and get the same info as I would have in lectures.”

Robey is not the only KU student who feels like they are not getting value for what they pay. A student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that although she found the teaching satisfying, she thought the facilities did not meet the standard of other universities.

The National Union of Students (NUS) responded to the report and said it highlights a number of areas of concern where changes are needed and should serve as a “wake-up call” to the regulators and supporters of high fees.

NUS vice-president for higher education, Megan Dunn, said: “The findings of this report should make the champions of high fees and high debt pause to think again about the way they have undermined higher education’s status as a public good and willed on a generation of consumers.”


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