University: Is it worth the debt?

Everyday students take to social media to voice their complaints about university life, which begs the question: Is £9250 a year a fair price to pay? 100% of students interviewed agree that it is not worth the money.

University newcomers start settling into student life as they begin the second term of their first year, only to come to the realisation that maybe university isn’t all what it’s talked up to be. Universities all over the UK boast of the high quality of their lectures and facilities, however students still take to Twitter to criticise their university and claim that they are not getting value for money.

An online poll found that 100% out of 12 University of Essex participants believed that university was not worth the high price of £9,250 a year. In an interview, two of these students revealed why they felt this way.

Samuel Bygrave, a first year BSc Psychology student, tells me his thoughts on student life so far:

“Nine grand just feels too much. I think 5 grand is fairer. I think the first year should be cheaper, partly because my grades won’t even go towards my final mark. Before I came here, I thought that the lectures would be more passionate. The library is resourceful; I get my textbooks from there because they are too expensive to buy. I just wish it was open 24/7.”

A second year English Language and Linguistics student, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes her experience at university:

“University is not worth £9,250 at all, I’m not receiving a great quality of teaching or help and it needs to be better. Lecturers are monotonous; I’m not paying for them to read off slides. Sometimes I just feel like I’m teaching myself. I get that you have to pay for university, but I’d only pay 3 grand given the choice.”

The reality of having “the best years of your life” at university seems to be becoming more and more of a daydream. All interviewed students do not think that they will have the “best years of their lives” at university. The anonymous student claims that “there doesn’t seem to be anything to do”. Samuel gives his opinion on the existing activities:

“I don’t think that you should have to pay to join the society guild and the nightclubs really need to be improved. I’d like to see themed nights in Ignite. I want more stuff happened on campus and events that are free.”

The University of Essex provides a breakdown of how the university spends students’ tuition fees.

chart
Pie chart of spending provided by the University of Essex.

Although UoE students don’t feel like they are receiving the best at the moment, the UoE Student Union which promises to shape everything it does around its students and are committed to improving students’ experiences. Students are able to go online and submit any ideas or suggestions via a simple form. So far, they have introduced requested sessions to the SU Learn programme and new food in multiple stores and restaurants on campus.

In addition, UoE SU introduced “Change Week” in October, which will be returning in the summer term. During October’s Change Week, 1,311 suggestions collected in just 7 days and in just 24 hours a group of volunteers thought up solutions to 143 student problems and ways to act on their ideas, including the quality of lectures and even the creation of a “nap room”.

Students can complaints about the university then take action and visit your SU either on campus or online at https://www.essexstudent.com/ideas/.

 

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