Rebecca Pinnington reports on new data from Money Supermarket, which reveals UCL to be the worst value UK university, for the second year in a row
The results are based on accommodation prices, the cost of student essentials, and insurance, which is higher for UCL students due to higher prices (and crime rates) in central London.
Most students are aware they will pay more if they live in London, but UCL is the most expensive of any university based in London. Perhaps most interestingly, we pay on average a whopping £185 per week for accommodation, while Imperial students pay a dramatically lower figure of £126 p/w – the kind of price UCL students wouldn’t dare to envision. Fortunately, UCLU’s alcohol prices do compete nationally – £2.40 for a pint in 2014-15 isn’t far above Durham’s £2.10, the cheapest in the country.
These results look at the cost of study without taking into account anything more subjective, like student satisfaction, but UCL does not even score well on that. In 2014-15, UCL came 75th out of 113 surveyed universities for student satisfaction in whatuni.com’s league table, and 104th for student support. Protests over the summer suggest that this is because some students feel ignored by College management, rather than because the cost of living is too high.
Average debt for students paying £9000 tuition fees per year comes to around £40,000, and will be £10,000 higher for many UCL students. The possibility of debt repayments until the age of 50 may leave many students wondering whether their education is worth the spend.
We asked students whether they thought they got value for money studying at UCL, and the response was a mixed bag:
“I feel my degree is value for money – although it requires a bit more foresight to see it than degrees like Law etc. I’ve had incredible teachers who are at the top of their field and access to amazing opportunities as a result of living in London, and I’ll be fluent in a new language, which, according to OkCupid, makes me way more attractive. So I’m pretty set for the future.” Mary Newman, Spanish and Latin American Studies
“I have a lot of contact hours, I get access to hi-tech equipment, and all of my professors are involved in active research. It’s great.” Alex Hall, Chemistry
“On many occasions during my year abroad, it was very unclear as to what my fee was going to, especially in terms of administration and contact hours. I think I can safely say that everyone on the year abroad suffered an extraordinary lack of bureaucratic support, from our Erasmus grants being delayed to lost paperwork and missing information throughout the year. The prospect of paying to attend my own graduation ceremony at the end of this year now seems like a bitter cherry on top.” Leila Hills, French and Italian
Image credit: www.ucl.ac.uk