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Universities Must Try Harder as Students Fear Fee Hike Will Force Them out of Education

Publish Date: 
Tue, 2010-08-17

59 per cent of UK students will not attend university if fees rise above £5k, research finds.

With A Level results announced this week, UK students say universities are going to need to work harder to tempt them to study and most (59 per cent) will consider dropping out of education if annual tuition fees are hiked beyond £5,000. Research out today spotlights a new tipping point for those contemplating university but worried by the prospect of mounting debts as the Government considers increasing the current £3,225 fees. And those deciding which university to apply for say the establishments must do more to inform them on courses and tempt them, with many Web sites seen as mediocre.

The research also reveals that course choice is the primary consideration for students selecting a university, ahead of other factors such as academic reputation and social life. Current students generally like their university experience – 78 per cent would pick the same university again, however nearly half (48 per cent) wish they had found out more about job and career prospects before applying.

Most students (95 per cent) browse university Web sites before making a decision, however the research indicates that these frequently fail to deliver the information students need. Just 38 per cent of UK students say university Web sites answer their questions and nearly half (47 per cent) rate university Web sites as "poor" or "average".

The importance for universities of having a good Web site is highlighted by the fact that students use more channels than ever before to reach a decision on their university, with social media, careers advisers and independent Web sites the most popular research methods.

Davin Yap, CEO of Cambridge-based software company Transversal, which commissioned the research, said: “In these tough times, it’s getting more and more important for universities to compete for students. However they appear to be shooting themselves in the foot with Web sites that are not fit for purpose. Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions anyone can make. Universities need to make sure their Web sites answer the many questions students have.”

The survey was carried out in July 2010. All of the 1000 participants were aged 18 to 22 years and were either current students at UK universities or due to enrol in September 2010.

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