Did you know, library and IT facilities are more important to students than social spaces such as pubs and bars? The Student Experience Survey (2016), conducted by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), showed that nearly two-thirds of students chose the quality of a university’s facilities as being vital to their university choice.
The findings of this research have put to bed the myths about student culture in the UK. Young people are not making decisions based on the uni nightlife or price of beer, neither are they following their friends’ university options. In fact, aspiring undergraduates are more concerned with the further education qualities and facilities provided by a university to support them on their journey.
With strong competition for graduate positions allied with soaring university fees, students are allocating more and more time to their studies, with libraries being the most academic for 66% of students. Not only are library facilities playing a crucial role in the decision-making process for potential students, but they also have a big impact on current students and those considering a master’s degree. Library spaces and facilities should be updated and improved throughout a student’s time at university for them to enhance their skills and develop academically – ultimately preparing them for work in this modern era. Library and IT facilities will certainly contribute to the university experience and affect the student satisfaction scores taken at the end of their degree. 59% of students who took part in the most recent student experience survey said they would like more money spent on their educational institution to improve the facilities.
According to The Society of College, National and University Libraries, support from libraries and IT services are vital in helping international students adapt to a new culture, writing style and language. The availability of support and appropriate facilities is likely to have a big influence on their grade and whether they even complete their chosen degree course.
AUDE Chair Trevor Humphreys, Director of Estates and Facilities, at the University of Surrey commented;
“The data shows that students place a strong emphasis on learning facilities more so than social space, but we know that the quality and adequate supply of both are very important to today’s student. Choosing the right university is a big step for many young adults and the survey again shows that higher education facilities play an important part in their decision.’’
Despite funding cuts, library and IT facilities have improved year on year, with 83% of students now saying their university facilities are either ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’ But with one in ten students dropping out of university in their first year, it is vital that universities do their upmost to support rapidly changing consumer demands and provide students with the very best in library technology and educational facilities.