Value for money research released by the Office for Students

This week the Office for Students released research into how students perceive value for money in higher education. The report is published in a backdrop of the government’s review of post-18 study in England, which also focuses on the cost of going to university.

The research was undertaken by a group of students’ unions and trendence UK. 5,685 current students (including PG and part-time), 534 recent graduates and 410 prospective students completed the survey. A quota sample was employed and findings were weighted to ensure a fully representative picture is captured.

Headline data reveals:

  • Only 38% of respondents either “mostly” or “definitely agreed” with the statement: “The tuition fees for my course represents/represented good value for money.” A larger proportion, 44%, “mostly” or “definitely disagreed”, and 8% said they neither “agreed” nor “disagreed”.
  • Asked to explain their views on value for money, one student said: “I expected to have at least a weekly tutorial every week before I came to university but that isn’t the case. The excess and waste of the university with regards to spending is obvious so I can only assume a tiny fraction of the tuition fee actually goes towards tuition.”
  • 24% did not feel properly informed about the additional costs of going to university, on top of tuition fees.
  • Students want for more transparency about how their £9,250 annual tuition fees were spent, and more information about additional costs including accommodation, books and extracurricular activities such as field trips.
  • 54% thought their overall investment in higher education was good value for money, with quality of teaching, learning resources and feedback the key factors in assessing this.


Nicola Dandridge, the Office for Student’s chief executive, said: “Higher education providers should carefully consider the findings from this report and consider how they can improve transparency and clarity about fees and the cost of going to university, and most of all how they can ensure that every student has a fulfilling experience of higher education which can enrich their lives and careers.”

The research is covered by The Telegraph, the BBC and Wonkhe


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