The UK-wide HEPI / HEA Survey was first undertaken in 2006. This year’s results are challenging, showing students have:
- falling perceptions of value for money;
- continue to display relatively low wellbeing compared to the rest of the population; and
- have yet to love England’s high-fees model of funding undergraduate education.
There are lots of positive findings too. For example:
- a new question on learning gain reveals most students believe they are learning ‘a lot’; and
- perceptions of teaching quality are rising.
The picture is not a standard one identical for all students, however. As a result of more extensive analysis of the data than in earlier years, we are able to show that the results differ notably by subject, ethnicity, financial status, sexual orientation and accommodation type.
I thought the data on budget priorities was quite interesting, particularly the apparent contradiction between students wanting more investment in teaching whilst being in opposition to spending on buildings. Whilst the accompanying text assumed students objections were towards living and working on a building site, I would be interested to know if there wasn’t in fact an extra layer to that objection. Specifically students actually being in favor of new teaching and learning space, but perceiving the current trend in developments to be unnecessarily expensive for very little improvement to their learning. Couple that with objections to new executive office space, expensive artworks and the acquisition of London property to open a new ‘base’ for a business school and I suspect the real culprit here is the high profile spending on flagship projects that offer very little for the majority of students. Basically the same as everything else in the report, poor value for money.