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A poor student experience is costing Universities £1.62bn

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A poor student experience is costing Universities £1.62bn  

  • 6.3% of students drop out of university each year  – a cost of £1.62bn
  • Universities need to work harder to improve the ‘whole student’ experience
  • Mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing must be considered alongside academic

Universities face increased pressure to maintain student numbers as the cost-of-living crisis and changes to teaching post-covid continue to fuel dropout rates or see students consider alternative options to further studies.

On average, 6 in every 100 (6.3%) students in the UK drop out of university¹. With fees averaging £9,000 per year, Universities are losing at least £1.62bn2 per year from students who drop out. The actual cost will be much higher, considering the number of potential students lost throughout the enrolment journey.

Universities must actively review and improve their student enrolment and ongoing experience if they want to attract and retain students and close the gap in funding going forward.

Jonathan Winchester, CEO of customer experience specialist, insight6, said:

“Universities must take steps to improve student wellbeing and support a ‘whole student’ experience to reduce the number of dropouts. Mental health is a rapidly growing concern amongst the student population and Universities need to get better at identifying and offering assistance to vulnerable students.

“The lifetime value of each student is huge, and competition from other institutions is higher than ever. Universities and Colleges must work harder to attract and convert open-day visitors into enrolled students.”

Research carried out by insight6 into student experience3 found 6 out of 10 students expressed concern about their overall wellbeing, and 2 out of 3 students thought they could have received more support from their university, college or sixth form during Covid. 

A continuous student feedback programme is vital for educational providers to understand how their general student population feels and to pick up any potential red flags from individual students.

“There are many elements to consider when seeking student feedback. You need to understand how they feel about the course, the campus, the teaching, their financial situation, or how their emotional or physical needs are being met. It’s also essential to have the right skills to analyse the results and a detailed plan of action to address different scenarios.” Added Jonathan.

Further research by insight6 into the student application journey found inconsistencies in the experience students had, from initial web browsing to open days and interviews to offers. Poor, impersonal communication and difficult processes were highlighted as impacting the overall experience.

Jonathan continued: “When a potential student experiences a poorly organised open day or inconsistent and unclear communications around an interview or offer, it can become the deciding factor between enrolling at a facility or not.

“We work with a number of educational providers to understand and analyse the whole student journey, identifying areas to improve the overall experience and ensuring each touchpoint is consistent in tone, messaging and meets its objective.”  

With bespoke feedback tools, highly trained researchers, and tailored customer experience (CX) reviews and solutions, insight6 has earned a reputation as the partner of choice for many educational facilities and forward-thinking organisations to improve the experience they deliver and financial rewards.

As well as working with hundreds of clients UK-wide, insight6 is the only CX specialist with a network of local experts available to support you on the ground.

If you need some help or advice with student enrolment or experience and retention, your local CX specialist will be more than happy to arrange a consultation. To find details for your local expert, call 0800 970 8987 or visit




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