Research conducted by private student lending company, Future Finance, found that 80% of the students they surveyed said they expected more from university because of the £9,000 annual tuition fees they are paying. The survey of over 2,000 students found that the majority of them also turned down the idea of paying higher fees at a more expensive university in the expectation of getting a better job. When asked about this, only 22% felt it would be worthwhile to do that, while around half of them disagreed entirely. However, these weren’t the only telling insights into the cost of university and student prospects.
Surprisingly perhaps, less than half the students are confident that university will lead to a graduate-level job which will allow them to pay of their debts. Only 48% said they were confident or very confident that their education would pay for itself, while nearly a quarter of students (24%) said they were unconfident or not confident of their earning prospects at all.
This certainly makes you wonder why young people are feeling it important to go to university, even when they feel it is not delivering value for money and is unlikely to improve their prospects once they leave. Why could this be? Is it because too many young people feel pressured to go to university, or even that it is just ‘what you do’ after A levels? Of course, without access to the information about alternative routes it is little wonder that young people feel that university is automatically the best choice for them. Chances are, it is what you have heard from your parents and your school – go to university to get ahead in life and get a good career. As we have seen recently, many pupils are being failed by the careers advice they have been getting in school, and now the government have stepped in to create a law demanding that equal emphasis is placed on non-academic routes into work.
If prospects and cost are seen as bad by so many students, then what do they feel is important to them when it came to university. 47% said that the teaching and feedback from tutors was the most important things for them, while just 29% said it was the course they were studying itself. Finally, only 12% saw their universities’’ reputation as the most important thing.
Again, this was slightly surprising, given how much emphasis universities place on building up their reputation and names. But, once again the cost of university was highlighted as a concern by students, with three out of every ten questioned saying they chose their university in order to live at home and keep their costs down.
With the financial strain and the apparent lack of belief in significantly improved prospects, could we see a time when young people just decide university isn’t worth it?
That seems unlikely right now, but there are those who are warning that traditional university as we know it could become a thing of the past. Plus, with an increased emphasis on alternative routes – including degree apprenticeships – we are already seeing more and more young people deciding to take apprenticeships instead of going to uni.
University is one of several options that are available to you when you leave college, so why not check them all out and make a proper, informed decision for your future?
With fewer than 60% of students agreeing that university was worth the cost as it “sets you up for life’ we wonder if the bubble is about to burst?