Value for money? Student perceptions

Every winter the Government sets out the annual funding for higher education in a letter to HEFCE. This letter outlines the funds that are available for allocation, alongside any government priorities. One of the priorities in the latest letter is that the sector makes greater progress in delivering efficiencies, as “students will rightly expect value for the fees they pay”.

A question arising from this is what do students define as value for money?

An insight is provided by a research project led by Dr Camille Kandiko from King’s College London. The project aimed to explore the views of students entering higher education in the UK in 2012-13, and to investigate their perceptions and expectations about the quality of their learning experience and the academic standards of their chosen programmes of study.

In regard to value for money, the report identified three criteria used by students:

Embodiment of value: Contact time
The primary way students referenced issues of quality and value in their degree was through contact time.

Tangible value: Resources
The resources the institution offered and what additional costs students faced were summarised as ‘what do you get for what you pay’.

Return on investment
The reputational value of a degree, their subject and that of the institution.