New research shines spotlight on student perceptions of value for money

Major new research exploring student perceptions of value for money has been published today by the Office for Students.

The report, produced by a consortium of student unions and trendence, reveals details of a survey of more than 6,000 current students, recent graduates and school leavers. 

Key findings of the report show that:

  • 38% of students believe their course offers good value for money while 54% said their overall investment in higher education was good value for money
  • quality of teaching, fair assessment and helpful feedback and learning resources are the factors which most demonstrate value for money for students
  • students want to see more transparency about how their tuition fee is spent and what additional costs they will incur, including on accommodation costs and other course-related costs. 

Commenting, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the Office for Students, said: 

'This important research, led by a consortium of student unions, helps us to understand more about what matters most to students when they are considering value for money. As I have found when meeting with students at universities and colleges all over the country, different students will understand different things by the expression value for money – and the survey shows this to be the case. 

'The results of this research show that students particularly prioritise high quality teaching, helpful feedback and good learning resources. Securing a good graduate job and salary are also important, as well as transparency about how fees are spent and other costs that students may incur. 

'Higher education providers should carefully consider the findings from this report and consider how they can improve transparency and clarity about fees and the cost of going to university, and most of all how they can ensure that every student has a fulfilling experience of higher education which can enrich their lives and careers. 

'In collaboration with our student panel, will be exploring how we can best use this research to inform our work as the English higher education regulator. Ultimately we want to use this research to ensure that students receive value for money from their higher education experience.'

Read the report

Correction: In July 2018 the student consortium that led this research updated and corrected a small number of statistics in the full report to reflect revised institutional categorisations.


  1. The Office for Students is the new regulator for higher education in England. We aim to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. We will become fully operational from April 2018.
  2. The research was commissioned by the Office for Students, with the project led by a consortium of student unions. The research project was conducted by trendence UK.

For further information please contact Sean Beynon or Ceri Lawrence on 07795 257374 or 


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