Why University Isn’t Worth £9,250

Over 500 thousand students apply and get places at University each year throughout the UK. With the majority being college/ sixth form leavers at the mere age of 18. Making it highly unlikely they’ll have £9,250 to their name to pay for first-year university tuition fees. Thankfully student loans are in place meaning we don’t have to worry about finding the money for University, just yet anyway. Since we aren’t paying it off until we earn over £25,000, it rarely crosses our mind and seems like it’s acceptable and feasible since it is a standard rate across the UK. Ultimately, making University worth it… but is it?
Having just completed my first year at university, I’ve come to realisation that £9,250 is extortionate in comparison to what you get in return.  I found online that the course fees are typically split across: Seminars, Tutorials and Lectures; Contact time; Facilities and Student Support Services (Obtained from: Which? University). The first semester started off well seeing where our money was being spent with two free lunches in the first week and a trip to Bradford Science and Media Museum, then other trip to Alton Towers Scarefest, since then we’ve received nothing other than stress, PowerPoint slides and cancelled lectures.
Contact time. My overall contact time for first year was set at 12 hours per week, split over 3, four hour lectures. Which meant I got two days off Uni a week, as great as this is… I can’t remember one day that I spent the total 4 hours in the lecture. Not only did we have ‘breaks’ in the middle of the lectures, sometimes we would be 30 minutes into the lecture and have a 30 minute break, others we had multiple 15 minute breaks throughout. But almost all of my lectures were cut short by an hour or more, every week. Which meant in a realistic week I only actually received approx. 9 hours contact time.
Now for a bit of maths… paying £9,250 a year, for 24 teaching weeks, at 12 hours each week, works out at £32 per hour for contact time. All those times my contact time has been cut short or not gone ahead at all I’m getting into debt for absolutely nothing. It’s quite common for lecturers to cancel lectures, do you get refunded for the lost time? Nope, of course not!
During the hours lectures actually go ahead, the lecturers are mostly reading off of PowerPoints. Meaning students are in a constant battle between “We’re paying and not getting our contact time” and “What’s the point, we could copy notes from this PowerPoint at home”.
Within my first year of studying Media and Communication I’ve used very little of the resources the University offer, which is quite shocking to say it’s a media based course. Likewise, I’ve never been offered to borrow a University laptop to help me out in a lecture, it’s up to us to bring our own. It wasn’t until the second semester of year 1 that I started using the library (this may be a fault of my own), but it was never pushed on us that it was a necessity. I’m certain all students can agree at how insane it is that there’s some reason why the 9k we pay doesn’t cover any of our printing costs, yet they claim our money goes towards resources? Is printing not a worthy enough resource?!
I was interested to see what other people thought about the worthiness of University fees so I ran a poll on Twitter. Let’s just say, the results speak for themselves…
Twitter Poll
But why do we still go?
University is a place you can spend an extra three years before you have to enter the ‘real world’, learning all about a subject you love, considering you chose the correct course. You are able to learn additional life skills from academic essay writing to learning how to cook and look after yourself. People are not wrong when they say you build great friendships with the people you spend time with at University, and these are the friendships that get you through the stress of the assignments and messy freshers nights out. Ultimately, University is definitely a love or hate experience and of course there will be times that feel both all at once.

Disclaimer: These opinions are all my own and based off my experience, I’m not saying that all other Universities and courses may be like this.

(5) Comments

  1. I agree with all of this, i think people still go because 1.) they either dont have other options available to them 2.) they think they need a degree to get a job

    1. katielauren says:

      That’s so true!

  2. SeekingSammy says:

    I agree with you! Even though I am going back to university (but this time to study Medicine and that is the ONLY way to become a doctor) I have seen lots of friends go into jobs where you didn’t even need a degree to fill the role. It’s a shame that tuition is so high now, we have seen no increase in contact time, facilities or even free printer credit despite the increases!!

    1. katielauren says:

      Completely agree, we should see more of where the funds are being spent!

  3. […] certainly never had to worry about an increasingly sparse and competitive job market. They didn’t leave university with nearly £10k in debt. In fact, for many of them their university education was free and didn’t come at the […]

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