University courses 'not worth £9,000 a year'


A clear majority of undergraduates believe their university course would be "poor value for money" if they were paying £9,000 a year, according to a report out today.

A study of 1,000 third-year undergraduates revealed former independent school pupils in particular felt let down by teaching standards at universities.

The study, commissioned by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) – representing 250 of the UK's leading private schools – contained interviews with equal numbers of former state and independent school pupils. The vast majority felt that the quality of teaching, the support on offer and feedback on their work were all more impressive at their schools than at university.

Less than half of the independent school pupils felt teaching standards at university were "very good". "Many were unsure of the value for money offered by their university with a clear majority stating that the tuition fees of £9,000 would have offered poor value," the study said.

Three-quarters said they would have been "fairly or very unhappy" at the value for money if they had to pay the higher fees due to come into force next September. At present, the maximum fee is £3,240. "It was felt that the quality of the teaching, the support on offer and particularly the feedback given for assessments were all less impressive at university," said the report compiled by the Populus group for the HMC.

Figures out today reveal a boost in job opportunities for young people pursuing vocational skills instead of a university education. WorldSkills reveals the number of jobs for fitness instructors has soared by 107 per cent in the last decade, beauticians by 48 per cent and nursery nurses 41 per cent.