Student studying Photo courtesy of Thinkstock / original article

A survey of over 15,000 UK undergraduates found that the majority of students attending universities in England were unsatisfied with the value of the degree. This is an abrupt departure from earlier measures of satisfaction (undertaken in 2012) and contrasts with the judgment of students in Scotland, where university is free for many students.

Over one-third of respondents said that fees were too high, teaching quality too low, and that they would choose a different degree program if given the chance to attend university again.

A major complaint highlighted by the report was the amount of time beginning students spent with instructional staff – 14-15 hours per week on average. This is roughly the equivalent to a 5-course load in North America. National academic standards recommend that students have almost three times as much instructional time. In addition, almost 10% also admitted to skipping class when lecture-based materials were posted online.

Outside of England, students rated their universities higher. In Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, student fees are substantially lower. This may explain why universities in these countries were overwhelmingly called “good value for money”.

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About the Author: Jaclyn Neel is a visiting Assistant Professor in Ancient History at York University in Toronto, Ontario.