Same-day Surveys, Different results

The postgrads recently conducted an on-campus survey, to discover whether students think their courses are good value for money. Their findings clearly have huge implications for University course providers in the light of proposed rises in tuition fees. They came back with fascinating findings, and a useful lesson in reporting: statistics and surveys don't necesarily paint the full picture and can be highly subjective depending on who you ask.

By Simon Jayawardena
The majority of university students feel that they are getting good value for money from their course.
Out of twenty students surveyed at the Universities at Medway, 85 percent said they believe their course to be good value for money. 
Of those who answered yes, three participants said solid job prospects made their course good value for money. A further three gave getting a degree at the end as the reason they feel their fees are reasonable. Elsewhere, opportunities for further study, good facilities and general enjoyment were given as reasons.
Concerns about careers also appeared in the “no” camp. Another student pointed to poor communication regarding her course timetable. One overseas student indicated that he had no problems with his course, but inflated international student fees meant that it could not be called good value for money in his case.
As the government prepares to lift the cap on tuition fees for UK and EU students, two problematic questions arise for universities. Firstly, whilst courses may be good value for money at current rates, is an increase justified? Secondly, if rises in tuition fees mean universities have to rely on international students, will they be able to satisfy their expectations?
Students unimpressed with their courses and fees
By Sam Taylor
Most students do not think they’re getting value for money from their university, according to a new survey.
Research conducted at the University of Kent found that of 16 students interviewed, ten were unhappy with what they were receiving in return for their fees. Some receiving just two hours of teaching a week. Pharmacy student Helen McAllister raised concerns about university education, “My course is poorly organised, I don’t get results when I’m told I will.”
Manpreet Sandu, also a Pharmacy student agrees with her, “The lectures aren’t up to what we’re paying.”
Many are also concerned about the amount of contact hours they’re receiving for their tuition fees; as Audio Design and Production student Alex Paul believes, “Some of us have two hours of teaching a week, if the tuition fees go up it won’t be bearable.”
However, there are some students who were satisfied with the fees. Music Technology student Ioannis Spirakes thinks that it’s not just the education that students are paying for that justifies the fees; “It’s about what you take from it. We get the use of high-tech equipment for free.”
With plans to raise the tuition fees up to as much as £10,000 a year expected to be announced by the government, the quality of a university education will need to improve in order to reflect this. Back in May lecturers from 14 universities and colleges across England went on strike over funding cuts totalling nearly £1 billion, suggesting that the raised fees will have to come with an overhaul of the service provided by the UK’s universities.