Earlier this year, the OfS and a consortium of Students' Unions partnered with trendence to analyse students' perception of value for money in higher education.
Do students feel they are receiving value for money? Do student perceptions of value for money evolve as they go from school to higher education, and then into the world of work? What can higher education providers – and the OfS – do to help improve the value students perceive they are getting from the considerable investment they have made in higher education?
31 Students' Unions were involved in scoping and design and we surveyed 5,685 current higher education students in England (across 133 institutions), 534 recent graduates and 410 school students. Quota sampling was used to enhance the representativeness of the sample and the findings were weighted by provider and gender.
Findings at a glance:
• 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’.
Read here the full report: https://goo.gl/1cH2tT
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