Facilities high on students’ agenda

New report on the student experience discovers eight out of 10 UK students rate facilities as a key factor in choosing a university

A new report reveals that nearly eight out ten students say that the facilities available at their prospective university played a role in them choosing it. The only factor marginally more important for students is the course itself. The report, commissioned by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), surveyed 2000 students on their university choice and the facilities that are most important to them.

Ninety percent of students said they felt their HE institution was being well looked after and cited the library and IT facilities as the university resources that they used most. Sports facilities and the students union also factored highly with nearly 30% of students saying that they used both of those the most.

Regionally, the student experience varies greatly. Students in the North East are most likely to think their universities are well looked after, while Welsh students are also most likely to pay more for accommodation with additional facilities. The students who feel security is an imperative are in the East Midlands, where nearly one in five voted ‘security features’ as their number one priority.  Students in East Anglia feel the safest. Here, just 7% of students did the same.

The ‘look’ of a university is more important to female students than their male counterparts, while the facilities available (such as sports or student societies) are more important to male students.

Female students are more interested in bringing their home comforts to university, such as having an en suite, than male students, and when asked what ‘luxury items’ they’d like to bring along with them, taking a parent and a chef were among the top choices made by female students.

Despite increased student fees, over half of those surveyed say that they would be happy for more money to be available to be spent on facilities or the estate.

Andrew Burgess, AUDE’s chairman elect and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Loughborough University, comments: “These statistics show that on the whole, students are happy with the facilities that their universities offer and that Directors of Estates are continuing to do an excellent job – which is great to hear.

“The university estate is core to enabling the delivery of the academic mission, so it’s key that Directors of Estates make sure they get this right. There is a clear link between the buildings and accommodation on offer at a university and the desirability of that establishment to potential students. With the HE sector increasingly becoming a buyer’s market – more choice for students who are paying increasing tuition fees – Directors of Estates always have to keep students at the forefront of their decision making. However, this is only one side of the coin: in light of government spending cuts and slowing growth, development projects have to be both value for money and state-of-the-art to attract students and enable universities to compete on an international level.”

Survey carried out by One Poll. 2,000 UK students were surveyed online in February 2014




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