Tuition fees: Four fifths of students believe their degree isn't worth the money


Harriet Bignell
Tuesday 16 December 2014 14:55
Tensions have been increasing across parts of the UK as students continue to protest against the rising cost of higher education
Tensions have been increasing across parts of the UK as students continue to protest against the rising cost of higher education

81 per cent of students believe they are overpaying for tuition, and value their degree far less than it is costing them.

A survey conducted by student finance website Student Money Saver has found that students are broadly dissatisfied with high fees and do not believe their degrees are good value for money.

The survey, which is the first to ask students to value their degree in comparison to its cost, found that only 18 per cent believed their degree was worth £8,000, even though 73 per cent of those taking part in the survey paid at least that much.

Since the 2012's introduction of the £9,000 cap on tuition fees, three quarters of universities have this as blanket charge across all their courses.

James Felton, editor of Student Money Saver, told The Independent: “The cause of this shocking 81 per cent statistic is most likely twofold. Students are dissatisfied with the fee-rise generally, and university course standards are not matching up to the fees being charged.”

One student who wished to remain anonymous, studying at the University of Chester, said: “For almost a whole module in my first year, we were taught solely by PhD students, not lecturers. I definitely didn't feel justified paying £9,000 in tuition fees to be taught by another student.”

Perhaps one of the reasons that so many institutions (six in 10) are in this higher fee bracket is a desire to appear more prestigious.

Jurgen Enders, a professor of higher education at the University of Southampton, said that universities are raising their fees due to fears that they will look cheap if they don’t and this will affect their status.

While less than half of students surveyed believe their degree is good value for money, 69 per cent are still optimistic that the education will increase their earning potential.

The students were less optimistic, however, that they’d earn enough over their lifetime to cover the cost of their degrees.

Philosophy and Literature finalist Andy King said: “I'd definitely be more indignant about how much I pay for my degree if I thought that there was even a remote possibility I'd end up paying much of it back. The skillsets I've learned and the passions I've gained throughout my university career are steering me towards careers where I realistically just won't scratch the surface of what I owe.”

Bushara Awan, head of young people programmes at the Money Charity, said: "Taking out any type of loan is something you need to consider very carefully. It is crucial that students understand the terms of the loan and what this means for them. The rise in tuition fees ultimately means most people repay their student loan for the majority of their working life."

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