With greater student numbers comes greater responsibility

By Professor David Russell, Founder and Chairman of the Russell Partnership

2015 has offered yet another vibrant year within the higher education sector. We’ve seen university admissions soar, with a record breaking 511,730 students accepted into HE – an increase of 12,610 (3%) compared to the 2014-15 entry year. The rise was boosted by a surge in acceptances of mature students in Scotland, as well as a sharp increase in those coming to study in the UK from elsewhere in the European Union, according to UCAS figures.

2015 continues to see the bustling presence of EU and international students around University campuses – a trend that shows no sign of stopping. The University of Oxford reports “almost 5 million students migrated abroad to study in 2014, which was more than double the 2.1 million internationally mobile students in 2000.” The OECD has projected that, with demographic changes, international student mobility is likely to reach 8 million students per year by 2025.

‘We must ensure that sufficient planning and resources are allocated to essential services such as food and accommodation, whilst considering aspects such as sustainability, innovation and quality’

We can expect encouraging outcomes from high admissions, diverse student populations and new generations of students. However, with greater numbers comes greater responsibility; we must ensure that sufficient planning and resources are allocated to essential services such as food and accommodation, whilst considering aspects such as sustainability, innovation and quality.

Advancements within student living, such as integrative technology and utilisation of smartphone apps, drive innovation and appeal to the current student population. Ensuring international cuisines are on offer throughout university outlets is vital for inclusion and offers ‘global-food exposure’ for home students. Shaping spaces to reflect diversity within campus and creating inclusive environments, which encourage interaction, will all accumulate to deliver a superior student journey.

At the heart of student life are amenities, which we have a direct role in shaping; we have the opportunity to create a world-class student experience, which is not limited to the future – but can begin today. Here’s to 2016…

W: www.russellpartnership.com

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