University Partnership Programme’s (UPP) Annual Student Experience survey, has revealed that 42% of student respondents think the variety of people they are likely to meet on campus is a big influence on their decision about where to study. This is a significant increase from last year’, when only 35% agreed that diversity was important.
The same survey finds that demographic changes in the consumption of alcohol has impacted on what students and applicants identify as important in terms of campus facilities. The number of young people rating campus bars, pubs and nightclubs as important declined from 49% in 2012 to 37% in 2015, and currently stands at 43%.
These results show that universities need to be much more imaginative in how they invest in their campus infrastructure
There’s also been a decline in the number of young people who hold that ‘reasonable prices at social venues’ are an important part of a good non-academic experience at university (58% in 2014 to 44% in 2016) as well as a decline in the number of people rating the quality of entertainment venues (e.g. bars, clubs, theatres on campus) as important for their non-academic experience (over 81% rated this as important from 2012 to 2014, but this dropped to 74% this year). These findings show that social attitudes of students are changing, and are in turn affecting perceptions of campus facilities.
These findings are due to be published this week by UPP, and will be discussed at a series of high-level roundtables at the political party conferences – held in partnership with Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).
The traditional rites of passage for previous generations such as clubbing are being replaced by concerns about employability
Jon Wakeford, Director of Strategy and Communications at UPP and a member of the Higher Education Commission has said: “These results show that universities need to be much more imaginative in how they invest in their campus infrastructure. Students and applicants want to meet new people and expand their horizons…we need to create flexible shared and social spaces that give young people a wider range of experiences and speak to a more academically focused generation of students.”
Josephine Hansom, Director at YouthSight also commented:“It’s no surprise to see the changing priorities of applicants and students; where the traditional rites of passage for previous generations such as clubbing are being replaced by concerns about employability… University experience is not what it used to be and the sector needs to revisit what it is really offering students of tomorrow.”