Two-thirds of UK university students say their degree is poor value for money

Two-thirds of UK-based university students do not believe their course is worth £9,000 a year, with overall student satisfaction levels falling considerably lower among students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, a recent survey found.

Undergraduate satisfaction levels have fallen dramatically over the past four years since the introduction of £9K fees in 2012. Figures are displayed in the recently published 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey.

According to the survey, 33 percent of the UK’s current student cohort felt their degree was “good” or “very good” value for money, a considerable drop from the 52 percent who gave the same response back in 2012.

On the opposite end of the scale, 35 percent of survey respondents claimed they were getting “poor” or “very poor” value for money for their overall student experience, while 32 percent believed it was neither good nor poor. Overall, students of African, Asian or African-Caribbean descent were much less impressed in their pursuit of UK higher education.

In total, three-quarters of those who responded to the poll claimed they had not received enough information regarding where their £9k annual payments were being spent.

The announcement comes less than one month after the controversial UK Higher Education White Paper renewed the debate surrounding university fees.

In May, Simon Crowther, a recent university graduate, went viral after a letter to his local MP showed his student loan stacking up interest of £180 a month, totalling a massive £1,800 a year, and slammed the UK government for ‘misleading’ university students in their promise that interest rates would remain low.

The White Paper sparked further uproar after the Government announced plans to introduce fees in-line with inflation, before differentiated caps are introduced in 2019-20, meaning students will have to fork out even higher costs for a UK education.

“Universities and the Government both want to see tuition fees increase, but students are strongly opposed to this,” said Nick Hillman, Director of HEPI, noting that if costs are increased, universities would need to “show how any extra fee income will directly benefit their students”.

With rising concerns regarding mental health among the UK’s current student cohort, the survey also asked respondents a number of questions on this topic. Figures revealed that just 21 percent of students experienced what they would consider as “low levels” of anxiety, while comparatively, 41 percent of the general population gave the same response.

Students also scored lower for measures of wellbeing when compared to results from the general public.

“The high levels of anxiety among students show that having to stand on your own two feet as an independent learner – combined with financial, workload and future career worries – is a combustible mix,” Hillman told The Guardian.

Brunel University hosts the highest proportion of ethnic minority students of all UK institutions. Ali Milani, President of Brunel’s Students’ Union, states he is hardly surprised that student prosperity is suffering as they are under such intense pressure.

“The tripling of tuition fees did not just have an economic impact, it had a psychological and cultural impact on students,” Milani told The Guardian.

“We should take very seriously how the marketisation of higher education and the hike in fees has an impact on wellbeing.”

Image via Wikipedia.

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