Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, UK/home students paid £9000+ per year for their university undergraduate education (even more for international students). While there are debates about the fairness of this price, students were given access to a plethora of resources from the university, from face to face tuition to library access.
However, following the pandemic, the price of tuition has remained the same, yet students have been given restricted access to resources provided by the university, and most, if not all, teaching is now online (burdened by technical difficulties and connection issues). While some students prefer online tuition, as it provides them with more freedom to tailor their schedules and time tables, many students are not satisfied. Not only is the teaching more distant and thus of less quality, but students have also been given restrictions such as limited access to the library and its resources (for example, library open hours were reduced from 24 hours to simply 8 am to 10 pm, inadequate for the students who possess higher productivity in the later hours of the night), as well as fewer consultation hours and reduced seminars.
You can argue that the fees that students pay aren’t just for the teaching that they receive, but the university life in general. However, again, this is not the case under the current restrictions. A lot of university life is socialising with fellow students, mainly through societies and sports clubs. However, sports clubs are no longer allowed to play, and societies are no longer allowed to operate their usual events, instead, they have to settle for online events, limiting the opportunities.
On the other hand, is the price of fees truly fair, do we even know what we are paying for exactly? According to Nottingham Trent University and savethestudent.org, this is where our fees go:
- 39% on teaching costs
- 36% on administration and infrastructure
- 17% on teaching, research and student experience enhancement
- 8% on services such as marketing, finance, and the vice-chancellor’s salary