The latest student experience survey from the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) has revealed nearly two thirds of UK students (61 per cent) say libraries, accommodation and IT facilities are key to their university choice.
The report commissioned by AUDE, surveyed two thousand students on their university choice and the facilities that are most important to them.
For the third year running, study facilities, including IT stations and libraries, came out on top with only 24 per cent of students placing importance on entertainment and social buildings when it comes to deciding their choice of higher education institution. Students are spending more time than ever on their studies, with the library being the most used facility for 66 per cent of UK students and IT facilities second (51 per cent).
Accommodation remains a priority for potential students with over half (57 per cent) agreeing and strongly agreeing that it played a key role in their selection. Other key influences when choosing a university include course (79 per cent), location (69 per cent) and academic ranking (44 per cent).
The report also found that despite funding cuts, university facilities continue to improve and AUDE members are responding strongly to the efficiency and effectiveness agenda. Eighty-three per cent of students believe their university study facilities to be excellent or good, an increase of five per cent from 2015’s figures. Other building quality indicators are also improving, with 65 per cent of students stating their accommodation facilities are excellent or good and 60 per cent stating the same for their catering facilities.
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. Effective estate management is key to ensuring higher education institutions deliver the best possible student experience, both academically and socially, so it’s encouraging to know that despite many sector challenges, a very high level of students feel their university offers clean and well maintained buildings.”
The survey also found that over half (59 per cent) of students polled would be happy for more money to be spent on facilities or the estate as a whole. For over 10 years the sector has been committed to the sustainability agenda and many universities have developed and delivered some very sustainable buildings, however the results showed that 22 per cent of UK students would like additional money spent on more environmentally-friendly buildings.