Mark A’Bear, Education Manager at Adobe UK responds to the news that the Office of Fair Trading plans to investigate students’ consumer rights and university competition.
“I welcome today’s news that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) plans to investigate the value for money that students are getting in light of the radical changes that are taking place within the Higher Education sector.
The hike in tuition fees was inevitably going to mean that the student experience would change. It has never been more important for graduates to have real world skills – real world skills that employers are increasingly expecting their new recruits to have. But students need the support of their Universities to provide access to the tools and facilities that will help them develop these skills in the first place.
Naturally, students are questioning the value for money they get from their University and feel entitled to a better quality degree for the extra money they are paying. Our own Digital Campus research earlier this year – which surveyed the 2012/13 intake of undergraduates, the first to pay the higher fees – revealed that universities still have a way to go in achieving this.
55% of the students we spoke to admit their university is not living up to their expectations, specifically pinpointing the lack of suitable facilities such as libraries, and technology provision as the main areas needing improvement. As many as half only have access to basic tools such as internet, email and basic programmes, falling short of the 82% who expect their university to go above and beyond a basic technology provision before they started their course.
University Vice Chancellors must step up to the challenge, and quickly, to meet the demands of the next generation of student. Needless to say, those able to adapt their strategies will be far more appealing to students looking for reassurances that they’ll have more than just debt to show for their University careers.”
Mark A’Bear, Education Manager at Adobe UK