Survey finds most students think degrees are poor value for money

Less than ten per cent of students thought their degree was ‘very good’ value for money

The tenth annual Student Academic Experience Survey has found that just seven per cent of students in England feel that they have received ‘very good’ value for money when it comes to degrees.

Image: Nouse

Image: Nouse

The results of the survey, published by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), also show that 75 per cent of students feel that their universities do not give them enough information about how their tuition fees are spent.

However, the majority of undergraduate students are content with their courses as 87 per cent said they were either ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ happy with the overall quality of their courses. In contrast, just two per cent said they were ‘very’ unhappy.

Just over a third of all respondents said they would either ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ have chosen a different course with the benefit of hindsight.

The Student Academic Experience Survey also found that the average student has 12 contact hours per week, with arts and humanities subjects offering the fewest.

Although the survey suggested that most students are happy to study alone, concerns were also raised that “relatively high numbers” do not feel sufficiently supported in independent study.

The survey also found that lecturers with formal teaching qualifications are valued more highly than active researchers, although the figures varied considerably between different groups of universities.

For example, 49 per cent of students from Russell Group universities suggested that they valued lecturers who had been trained how to teach the most, while 23 per cent favoured academics who are active researchers in their area of study.
Reflecting on the results, one third year History student told Nouse: “I think the survey shows that there are some real concerns for students at an uncertain time, not least about getting good value-for-money when we pay so much for the privilege. Hopefully, the University will pay attention to this survey and invest students’ money wisely.”

The survey, which was first run in 2006, uses a number of questions to assess the mood of students from universities across the country.


  1. This survey is ridiculous. How will I know if my degree is good value for money until I’m out and trying to earn money?

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    • Because if you use your brain you’d realise education isn’t purely a mechanism for increasing your worth on the job market – how can my department justify £9000 fees for 8 hours of contact hours a week and access to a library where even the local A-level students can use?

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