Value for money in HE

In a rather refreshing THES article this week Paul Ramsden considers infantilising students. There is some sensible consideration of contact hours, degree costs and student experience. The piece suggests that students, as partners in learning are entitled to know where their money is going and highlights that the actual cost of producing graduates is less than the money that will be paid by many students. This is because the fee cross subsidises bursaries, scholarships and research. The article suggests that students may reflect on whether they feel it is worth paying the extra to subsidise these other activities.

With the number of possible connotations of provision (corporate partner, third party providers, accreditation partnerships, shared delivery etc etc) the need to ask ‘what do I get for my money?’ is perhaps never so important, whether the question is asked by an individual or a corporation. Answering in contact hours (a pretty weak answer anyway) no longer covers the diversity of possible arrangements. A new responsive and flexible mindset for unpacking and understanding value for money in complex provision as well as undergraduate ‘traditional’ provision is clearly needed as HEIs across the country seek out the new world order rules of engagement.

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