The Government and higher education institutions should do more to support students who live away from campus – often in the parental home – and who commute long distances to study, according to a new report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).
Homeward Bound: Defining, understanding and aiding ‘commuter students’ (HEPI Report 114) has been written by Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, and David Morris, the Vice-Chancellor’s Policy Officer at the University of Greenwich.
The report has been sponsored by University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the UK’s leading provider of on-campus student accommodation infrastructure and support services.
The paper considers the experiences of students who live in the parental home during university. They have poorer outcomes than those who move away from home and are less engaged and satisfied with their academic experiences.
Almost one-in-ten (9 per cent) commuter students would not have entered higher education if they could make their decision again, which is higher than for any other group.
The report also finds:
commuter students are more likely to be first-in-family students, to come from a lower-income household, to be mature students and to have an ethnic minority background;
at 10 universities, over half the students live in the parental or guardian home, including City University London, the University of Wolverhampton and the University of Bradford; and
institutions with a lower proportion of commuter students are more likely to achieve higher student satisfaction scores.
The report includes five case studies – including the University of Manchester, Staffordshire University and Anglia Ruskin University – which explain how they support their commuter students.
The report ends with recommendations for policymakers and universities:
the Post-18 Education and Funding Review should ensure concerns about the cost of living are […]