Should a rise in tuition fees mean a rise in contact hours?
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A poll by the Higher Education Policy Institute found that although tuition fees are set to rise to an all-time high of £9,000 a year, contact hours at universities in Britain have remained exactly the same. The poll of over 9,000 students found that first and second years have around 13.9 hours of contact hours a week, very little difference to the average 13.7 hours a week found in a survey 6 years ago. There was also found to be a discrepancy of 0.7 hours between average time in tutorials, seminars and lectures between newer and older universities, sitting at an average of 12.4 and 13.1 respectively, and unsurprisingly, discrepancies were found depending on the course that students were undertaking, with medicine coming out top for contact hours. The poll did however find a slight rise in the time which undergraduate students spent studying in their own time – a rise from 13.1 hours a week 6 years ago, to 14.4 hours each week today, a possible reason being that as students are forced to pay more for their degree (tuitions fees have gone up from £1,000 in 2006), they are beginning to value it more and work harder for a better result. As fees treble this may become an even more poignant trend next year, as those who go on to university will have carefully evaluated the financial burden, and be prepared to work hard to get their money’s worth out of their degree.
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