Asking the right questions on student lifestyle

At regular intervals, a group of UK Students’ Unions comes together to design, fund and commission research into students’ views and experience of university. Previously Students’ Unions have looked at the student view of teaching excellence, and student perceptions of value for money. This time around a group has come together to learn more about a number of student living and lifestyle issues. Our study covers over 8,000 students studying at over 120 providers, appropriately weighted, and the 26 sponsoring Students’Unions have access to local data that can usefully be compared against the national picture.

Here are the main findings:

• Given the chance, 30% of students would change their choice of student accommodation.
• 1 in 5 students are not happy with their accommodation.
• 42% of students bring their own food from home most days of the week. Only 18% buy food from an outlet on-campus, 17% buy food off-campus, and 14% say that they skip meals while they’re on-campus. Those who skip meals are more likely to be students from POLAR quintile 1 areas.
• 43% of students do not think that the cost of the food on-campus is reasonable.
• 18% of students do not think that the quality of the food on-campus is reasonable.
• 21% of students have considered dropping out of university in the last six months.
• 34% of students say that their wellbeing has worsened since they started university. 36% report no change to their wellbeing, while 30% say that their wellbeing has improved.
• Only 22% of students identify themselves as both a member of the local community and a student, while 77% of students identify themselves as solely a student.
• Across the whole of the UK, 58% of students travel to university by walking, 34% get the bus, 15% travel by car, 13% travel by train, and 7% cycle.
• 76% of students who travel to university commute for 30 minutes or less. 11% of students commute for one hour or more.

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