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Has the student experience recovered from Covid? Come to the 2022 HEPI Annual Conference to find out

  • 25 May 2022
  • By Dr Alexis Brown

Alexis Brown is Director of Policy and Advocacy at HEPI.

  • The 2022 HEPI / AdvanceHE Student Academic Experience Survey will be launched at the HEPI Annual Conference, sponsored by UPP, on 9 June 2022, which will also include a Keynote Speech from the Minister for Higher and Further Education, Michelle Donelan MP. Sign up here.

Last year’s HEPI / AdvanceHE Student Academic Experience Survey made for hard reading. Students were polled during the depths of the crisis, and their responses reflected the desolate mood of that period. For the first time, more students thought the value for money of their course was poor than thought it was good. About one-in-four students (27%) felt they had received good or very good value, compared with 44% perceiving poor or very poor value. The red and green lines in the graph below had never crossed over before, despite coming close in 2017 – but now they did so dramatically.

The dissatisfaction students felt was not confined to financial terms either. Wellbeing measures revealed that students were historically unhappy and anxious, including when compared to the rest of the population. While 40% of the general population reported low anxiety that year according to ONS data, just 13% of students did the same. High life satisfaction for students had almost halved from 11% to just 6%, down from 14% in 2020 and 2019. In response to this trend, this year we’ve also asked students about loneliness for the first time.

We’ve also added a section on how much student learning is still taking place online. Online learning has been in the media regularly over the past year – not without controversy – so better data on how much teaching is being delivered online should prove illuminating to the debates, as well as to the Office for Students’ review of blended learning.

Given its topicality, we’ve also included questions on free speech and inclusion this year – for example, do students feel comfortable expressing their viewpoints around their peers, even if it differs from those around them? This could be of particular interest to the incoming Free Speech Champion.

Following on from our employability blog series, we’ve asked students about what motivates them to take on employment during their studies.

To what degree, if at all, has the student experience recovered from the depths of the pandemic? And what do students want the future of learning to look like? All will be revealed on 9 June 2022. Do come along.

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