Third of students say they do not get value for money

STUDENTS are now set to pay thousands of pounds more for their degrees, but many do not think they are getting value for this money.

New research reveals that in England, nearly twice as many students now say that their course is poor value compared to two years ago - before tuition fees were almost trebled to a maximum of £9,000-a-year.

It also suggests that students at some universities are not working as hard as they could be, with some admitting they skip lectures because they do not think they are useful or because the lecture notes are available online.

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The findings are part of the latest Student Academic Experience survey, produced by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA), which questioned more than 15,000 full-time undergraduates about their university experiences.

It found that overall, the vast majority of students (86 per cent) are fairly or very satisfied with the overall quality of their course, while more than two fifths (44 per cent) said that they think they are getting value for money.

But a breakdown of the results shows differences across the UK.

The report reveals that 70 per cent of undergraduates at Scottish universities, who typically pay no fees, think they are getting value for money, compared with just 41 per cent in England, where tuition fees are now typically £9,000. In Yorkshire all but two of the ten universities are changing the maximum £9,000-a-year.

The report also shows that about a third of first and second year UK students studying at English universities - those paying fees of up to £9,000 - think their degree course is poor value for money, compared to 18.3 per cent who said the same in 2012 - just before the fee hike.

HEPI director Nick Hillman said: “The data suggest growing differences across the UK. Students in Scotland generally think they are getting good value for money. Meanwhile, students in England are paying much more but receiving only a little more. In England, one-in-three students say they are getting poor value for money - nearly twice as high as before the £9,000 fees were introduced.” The survey found that in the first and second years of their degree, undergraduates have an average of 14.2 hours of “contact” time and spend another 14.3 hours on average in private study. This is less than the 40 hours a week of study suggested in Quality Assurance Agency’s guidelines, the report said.