Why just settle on going to one University?
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2018 by Venn Group — No comments
Can’t decide on one University? Maybe you don’t have to.
Since University fees trebled in 2012, students have come to expect a lot more from their University experience and Universities have had to change the way in which they operate to become more business focused. The increase in fees has quite clearly "put universities under increasing pressure to deliver, and be seen to deliver, value for money", as stated by The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). This has resulted in cuts from areas deemed less important and more funding being pumped into areas such as IT and Libraries, which have much more of a direct impact on student life.
For example, a number of Universities are currently moving their Libraries into newer, more modern buildings, and are planning to upgrade their IT systems to ensure a fast, reliable service. Some universities are also developing exciting apps, which will bring all aspects of student life together, including timetabling, essay hand-ins and even how long you’ll have to wait for your coffee at the Campus Café.
This is all a necessary part in the marketing of Universities now, amidst the proof that students are finding University experience less than value for money, as illustrated in this graph from the BBC.
Of course, a threefold increase in fees being paid, alongside a rapid rise in inflation following Brexit means students are expecting an exemplar service from their University. Raechel Mattey, who was the Vice-President of the NUS, stated “Students do see themselves more as consumers than they used to. They want the best possible degree they can get". Unfortunately, it is near impossible for Universities to keep up with expectations.
Moreover, as student caps have been revoked, more are flocking to the UK’s top universities to achieve that “best degree possible”, as previously mentioned. Will this result in a near monopoly of top Universities? The drop in student numbers to other universities may mean they have a lesser budget, and therefore less money to pump into improving their services.
Iain Liddell, of Brunel University1, suggested an idea that may help level the funding for Universities. By creating a system where students are able to pay per module, rather than by course, students could spread their degree over a number of Universities, based on module preference. If students had more control over their qualifications, perhaps this would increase student satisfaction, as well as potentially spreading the wealth over more Universities.
Moreover, as stated by Mr Liddell, this allows potential to free some budgets that are currently dedicated to Student Data. Perhaps if a central student body, such as the NUS, could create a centralised student data system, which kept track of who was taking what module in which University and what their grades are, Universities could have a greater budget to improve other systems.
It’s certainly food for thought. In a rapidly changing student and Uni-verse, maybe it’s time to make a bigger change. If you are paying such a fee for a service, should you not have a little more control over the outcome?
1 All ideas expressed are personal opinions of Iain Liddell, and are not Brunel policy or preference