According to Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute,
speaking to the Telegraph, “some students' workload resembled a part-time job, while for others it was the equivalent of a full-time post.” This disparity is highlighted by findings revealing that the average weekly workload for medicine and dentistry students, including lecture time and private study, amounts to 37 hours per week whilst media programmes such as journalism and film production took only 18-23 hours per week of students’ time.
Having to pay more for their degree but getting less hands-on time has led to students dedicating much more of their own time to private study. One could argue that, post-fees hike, university is no longer seen, by some, as a get out of work free card. In total, students at ‘Red Bricks’ worked 28.6 hours per week, whilst ‘new’ uni students worked just 25 hours. Could this evidence serve to reinforce the view that degrees from more traditional institutions are worth more? It certainly means the financial value of a ‘Red Brick’ degree is higher than those obtained from newer universities. In light of this, could it lead to yet more employers coveting Russell Group graduates, thus devaluing degrees from new universities? All we can say at Whatuni is
make sure you choose the right uni! (And degree).
The report also states: “When in opposition, the Government repeatedly said that it would only countenance an increase in fees if universities could demonstrate what additional benefit students would receive from any increases” But where are these benefits? When asked whether they believe their degree was ‘value for money’ just 17% of students answered yes as opposed to 21% in 2007. Furthermore, the report show class sizes are no smaller now than they were in 2006, when fees were a 1/3 of what they are now. Shocking!
These figures have also raised concerns that British degrees might become less valuable to employers in comparison with degrees from other countries such as parts of Europe and the USA. The HEPI report casts aspersions: “Our degrees are already shorter than those elsewhere. It appears also that less effort is required by our students during each week of study…This raises potentially awkward questions, and indeed these are being posed by our European partners and those who sponsor students from overseas.”
However, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, which represents university heads,
speaking to the Telegraph, said: “We do not recognise the picture painted by the HEPI survey. There is plenty of evidence to show that when universities in England received additional income after the introduction of variable fees in 2006, they invested it in better facilities, more teaching staff, more support and advice for students, and other benefits for students.”
Yeah, the tuition fees have gone up from around £3k to £9k but, as this study proves, there have been no significant improvements to the student experience. However, Bahram Bekhradnia added that with the fee rise should come “commensurate improvement in provision”. Among other things this means more financial support - check out
Scholarship Search to find great Scholarships and other financial support available to students.
The final word on this has to come from
National Union of Students president, Liam Burns: “Students must be given real influence over their university experience and it is clear that changing funding from investment to loans does not increase the amount going into teaching and does not give students the power to direct their learning.”