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Office for Students publishes value for money strategy

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The Office for Students (OfS) has today published its value for money strategy for 2019 to 2021. The strategy sets out how the OfS will ensure higher education providers deliver value for money for both students and taxpayers.

According to a 2018 survey commissioned by the OfS, just 38 per cent of students believe their course offers good value for money.

The value for money strategy, published by the OfS today, identifies the ways in which the OfS will deliver better value for money for students and taxpayers – in line with the priorities identified in the 2018 student survey. The strategy also defines the OfS’s regulatory role in these areas and outlines how it will measure its success.

Among the priorities identified are:

  • improving teaching quality – over 90 per cent of students responding to the OfS survey felt that the quality of teaching, assessment and feedback are very important in demonstrating value for money
  • promoting transparency around fees and funding – 88 per cent of respondents said that seeing a breakdown of how fees are spent would be helpful in judging value
  • protecting students as consumers and improving consumer information – 24 per cent said they were not informed or prepared for the level of costs that came with being a student
  • securing positive employment outcomes – 65 per cent of respondents said getting a job and earning more were important factors in judging value for money.

The OfS will continue to survey students and graduates to measure student perceptions of value for money, the outcomes of which will form one measure of its progress in this area. The OfS will also consider measures of student experience and outcomes, including the National Student Survey, the Graduate Outcomes Survey, and data on graduate earnings.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said:

‘Good value will mean different things to different people. However, as students have told us, high quality teaching, transparency on fees, and securing good jobs after graduation are particularly important factors. Our new strategy sets out our ambition to ensure that universities and colleges respond to this feedback and deliver value for money for all students.

‘We will also secure value for money for taxpayers by promoting transparency around higher education spending, and ensuring universities and colleges deliver quality courses that equip graduates with skills that benefit society and the economy. The OfS also needs to deliver good value for money itself in terms of its regulatory functions, and the strategy sets out how we intend to do this.’

We have also published a blog on value for money in higher education.

See the value for money strategy

  1. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 requires the OfS to have regard to the need to promote value for money in the provision of higher education by English higher education providers. The Act also requires the OfS to deliver value for money itself by having regard to the need to use its resources in an efficient, effective and economic way.
  2. In order to be registered with the OfS, providers must demonstrate they are well run, financially sound and offer a high quality education experience with positive student outcomes.
  3. The 2019 HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey found that 41 per cent of students perceive ‘good’ or ‘very good’ value from their course, while 29 per cent of students said their course was ‘poor’ or ‘very poor value’.
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