It has been announced this week that there could be a shakeup in the way that university degrees are priced and charged. An already controversial subject is set to be discussed at length once more as the government appears to be under pressure to ensure that students are getting the best possible value from the degree courses.
In a public display of support for students Theresa May has been doing her utmost to ensure that tuition fees, accommodation and other pressing student concerns are dealt with, or at least are brought to the attention of the cabinet and media for discussion.
Under new proposals the government will set rating criteria in which students are able to compare the value for money of each course at each university – making the process of applying to university more transparent. As reported in The Guardian, subjects will be given a gold, silver or bronze award, and details will be made available about post-degree employment prospects, potential earnings and dropout rates.
The government is keen to roll out measures that will mean that students receive the most information possible before making a choice of which university to attend and which course they would like to choose. Currently there is little in the way of a recognised rating system for these types of courses.
It could prove a positive move for student landlords who could potentially use the information to deduce which areas and which universities offer the best education and which are likely to be the busiest, which would allow landlords to predict demand for accommodation and the likelihood of high yields.
Already in existence is the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which rates participating higher education providers, reflecting the excellence of their teaching, learning environment and student outcomes. The Government introduced the TEF in 2016 as a trial year but the scheme seems to have garnered little attention in the UK where research suggests that most UK students don’t pay attention to it. However it has been used widely abroad where international students rely quite heavily on league table and ranking systems to make their choices about where to attend for their higher education.
Luckily for the UK, our higher education system enjoys world class status across the globe and so many if not all international students are happy to come across to study at prestigious British institutions but making a choice about which one is often difficult for them.
It’s hard to say exactly what the government’s rating system would look like, and whether it would really be all that different to the current systems offered, but one thing we can be encouraged by is that they appear to be taking the issues of students seriously.
With an accommodation sector that is currently booming with investors lining up to place their money in the highly profitable asset, it would seem silly for the government not to intervene in some way to make things easier for students.
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