Student survey shows huge support for the value of university education

New research shows that a large majority of students and recent graduates believe that going to university is valuable experience and are positive about the benefits of a university degree.

Research by ComsRes for Universities UK found that students and graduates recognise that universities broadens their horizons, with 83% of respondents agreeing that university helps them develop life skills and reach their potential. 86% also say that university has enabled them to learn to be independent.

In the same survey, students and recent graduates were highly positive about the social benefits of going to university, with 86% of those surveyed agreeing that they have met people from diverse backgrounds with different views to them. University also provides students with experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have had, according to 85% of the respondents.

The poll shows that when they were deciding to go to university, only 1 in 3 (34%) of those surveyed said they considered a higher earning potential as a reason for going to university, as oppose to over half who said they wanted to go to study an interesting degree subject. 79% think that Government should do more to promote the broader benefits of university to prospective students.

Students and recent graduates said the top three areas they wish they had known more about before applying to university included:

  • better career information to help in their choice of subject (39%)
  • career experiences – not just salaries – of past graduates in their subject and institution (38%)
  • information on the cost of living while studying (37%)

Overall, students and recent graduates have a positive attitude about university and think going is beneficial for themselves, others and wider society, with 84% saying they would recommend university to others as a worthwhile experience.

Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said,

“It’s a really positive thing that students understand that going to university is about so much more than the money they can earn in the future.

“Of course, enabling students to go on to highly-successful, well-paid careers is extremely important but there’s a wide range of benefits that a university experience brings to individuals.

“At university, people have the chance to meet friends for life, engage in robust and intellectual debates, enjoy exciting work-based learning, and even study abroad. That’s the value of the university experience.”