New report delves into the student experience and how important university facilities are
A new report out today reveals that nearly eight out ten* (77%) students say that the facilities available at their prospective university played a role in them choosing it. The only factor marginally more important for students is the course itself. The report, commissioned by AUDE**, surveyed two thousand students on their university choice and the facilities that are most important to them.
Ninety per cent of students said that they felt their HE institution was being well looked after and cited the library and IT facilities as the top university resources that they used most. Sports facilities and the students union also factored highly with nearly 30% of students saying that they used both of those the most.
Regionally, the student experience varies greatly. Students in the North East are most likely to think that their universities are well looked after (95%) whilst Welsh students are also most likely to pay more for accommodation with additional facilities (61%). The students who feel security is an imperative are in the East Midlands, where nearly one in five (18%) voted ‘security features’ as their number one priority. Students in East Anglia feel the safest. Here, just seven per cent of students did the same.
The ‘look’ of a university is more important to female students than their male counterparts, whilst the facilities available (such as sports or student societies) are more important to male students.
Female students are more interested in bringing their home comforts to university, like having an en suite, than male students, and when asked what ‘luxury items’ they’d like to bring along with them, taking a parent (19%) and a chef (21%) were among the top choices made by female students.
Andrew Burgess, chairman elect, Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Loughborough University comments: “These statistics show that on the whole, students are happy with the facilities that their universities offer and that Directors of Estates are continuing to do an excellent job – which is great to hear.
“The university estate is core to enabling the delivery of the academic mission, so it’s key that Directors of Estates make sure they get this right. There is a clear link between the buildings and accommodation on offer at a university and the desirability of that establishment to potential students. With the HE sector becoming increasingly a buyer’s market – more choice for students who are paying increasing tuition fees – Directors of Estates always have to keep students at the forefront of their decision making. However this is only one side of the coin, in light of government spending cuts and slowing growth, development projects have to be both value for money and state of the art to attract students and enable Universities to compete on an international level.”
University facilities are so much more than just a university’s buildings. Estates are one of the university’s largest assets – from strategic management, capital planning, cleaning, security and maintenance services through to space planning and management, legislative compliance, car parking, traffic management and asset management, university facilities really do play a big role in all aspects of a student’s time at university.
*Survey carried out by One Poll. 2,000 UK students were surveyed online in February 2014.
** AUDE is the Association of University Directors of Estates