Three-quarters of students believe universities do not give them enough information about how tuition fees are spent, while more than a third would have chosen a different course in hindsight.
That’s the key findings of the 2015 Student Academic Experience Survey, which surveyed more than 15,000 undergraduates across the UK.
The study, carried out by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the Higher Education Academy, found that the vast majority of students 87% are fairly or very satisfied with the overall quality of their course.
But 75% of respondents claimed they did not receive enough information on how their tuition fees are spent, while 34% said they would definitely or maybe have chosen another course if they were to have their time again.
Most Scottish students do not pay fees, but just 7% of English students many of whom have to pay £9,000 a year said they felt they received value for money.
Nick Hillman, director at HEPI, said: “The most striking new finding is that a whopping three-quarters of undergraduates want more information about where their fees go.
“Providing this is coming to look like an inevitable consequence of relying so heavily on student loans.”
On the tuition fees issue, a spokes-person for St Andrews University said the fees were used to meet the cost of world-class teaching.
“The actual cost of teaching a student for one year in St Andrews is £11,772, which means that £9,000 fees represent not only great value, but also a loss to the university,” the spokesperson added.
“We know our students appreciate that they are getting the best education, having voted us the leading multi-faculty university in Scotland and joint top in the UK in the 2014 National Student Survey.”
When asked to explain why their experience was worse than expected or better in some ways and worse in others, students’ top response chosen by 36% of respondents was that they had not put in enough effort themselves.
But 32% said the course was poorly organised, 30% said they had few contact hours than they were expecting and 29% said they did not feel supported in their independent study.
Dr Alastair Robertson, director of teaching and learning enhancement at Abertay University in Dundee, said: “At Abertay we are continually looking to improve our teaching, encourage innovation and give our students a fantastic learning experience.
“Being a smaller university creates a great environment for our students, and our focus on developing skills for real-world challenges helps make sure our graduates can step straight into rewarding careers.”