Value for

Offering students a high-quality experience

Students expect a distinct, outstanding offer from their university experience. At Derby, we are committed to demonstrating value for money for our students and have made a significant investment in order to maintain a high-quality student experience during this challenging year.

In this section, we explore the work the University is conducting to ensure the issue of value for money is being addressed and we outline how 'value for money' for our students has been achieved during 2019-2020.

Message written on the back of Programme rep's t-shirt

How are we ensuring students receive a value for money experience?

Throughout the academic year, the University has continued to prioritise value for money for students, from providing a transparent approach to showing where student fee income goes, to developing an innovative learning and teaching delivery model during the pandemic to ensure students receive value from their investment in higher education.

iconLaptops were provided to students requiring resources to help study online
icon320 Union sports and society committee members received training
iconActive learning spaces upgraded
iconStudent Wellbeing Services made fully available online
iconThree new social sport sessions delivered by student sport clubs

What does value for money mean?

Value for money is a one of the Office for Students' (the regulator for higher education in England) strategic objectives and aims to ensure that "all students, from all backgrounds, receive value for money" from their university experience.

Students receive value for money when they experience the full benefits of higher education - both during their studies and afterwards - in exchange for the effort, time and money they invest.

Office for Students
Value for Money Strategy 2019-2021

In September 2018, a Value for Money Advisory Group was set up at the University to understand the student perception of 'value for money'. A key feature of the group is that it is co-chaired by representatives from the Union of Students and is comprised of student officers and a cross-section of University staff.

The Group is responsible for the continual monitoring of institutional key performance indicators which ensure the delivery of Value for Money targets linked to the strategic priorities of the Office for Students: improving teaching quality, protecting students as consumers, increasing transparency and positive employment outcomes.

Throughout the pandemic students still expect their investment in higher education to offer an exceptional experience, consistency in terms of quality, being fit for purpose, offering value for money, and being transformational (Advance HE, 2020).

Where exactly do students’ tuition fees get spent?

In November 2019, the University's Value for Money Advisory Group led on the University's first publication of a tuition fee breakdown, aiming to improve transparency of where income from tuition fees was shared and allocated. View the full breakdown.

Percentages graph

54% Learning and teaching
12% Operational support
8% Estates
7% IT
6% Library and learner support
5% Widening access
3% Wellbeing and facilities
3% Student recruitment and marketing
1% Careers
1% Union of Students

The Value for Money Advisory Group has also considered the next steps in publishing further tuition fee breakdowns by student type, and the University Finance department is reviewing the processes currently in place, and the suitability to deliver a breakdown for international and part-time student fees as part of future plans.

The Group carried out a review of Programme Inclusive Fees, which led to the publication of clear information on what costs were included in each programme tuition fee and which were in addition to the annual fee. This information is not only important for prospective students to have full transparency over any fees incurred ahead of enrolling on their programme, but also provides a useful benchmarking tool for the Value for Money Advisory Group, enabling the group to draw comparisons across University colleges for the approach to setting fees that are in addition to the tuition fee, for example for overseas or domestic placements.

Impact of Covid-19 on value for money for students

In light of Covid-19 and the adjustments made to the student experience, the University has had to undertake a number of steps to assure value for money for students, including adopting a new educational model in order to ensure students received the support required to progress.

The blended learning model articulates an experiential, active learning experience with an in-person and online offering that offers confidence to our students that they can expect, and will receive, a high-quality learning experience.

This process has included repurposing large parts of the University's estate to create more teaching space for smaller, socially distanced, face-to-face tuition, and the investment in innovative delivery of teaching and learning materials to students has required additional cost.

In addition, a full audit and review of the University's support services took place which graded the online accessibility of professional and academic support services and led to several advancements:

In addition to the above, the University also moved quickly to allow students to be released from their Halls contracts in summer 2020 to mitigate against student hardship during lockdown, and subsequently adopted a flexible approach to enable students to move back into accommodation at a time that was suitable for them.

Vicky Hossack, Chief Executive Officer of the University's Union of Students, said: "The Union of Students continues to work closely with the University to maintain efforts towards providing all students with a value for money student experience throughout the pandemic.

"We recognise there has been considerable investment in digital infrastructure that supports learning and teaching and allows access to vital support services, including the financing of an institution-wide Peer Assisted Learning scheme and the design and implementation of a virtual induction for all new students that started University in September 2020."

The Value for Money Advisory Group will hold a key role in reviewing and evaluating decisions taken by the University in response to Covid-19, in order to ensure that students continue to derive a value for money student experience through this period."

The Union of Students

Last academic year, the Union of Students received a 10% uplift to the block grant from the University which it invested towards extending key services and activities for students including:

Craig Jones, Director of Finance, said: "Joining the University in the summer of 2020, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside the Union of Students in looking at how we deliver value for money for students at the University of Derby.

"Our ambition is to seek to provide value in all the services we provide, and this Impact Report sets out where we have made improvements during the year. We will continue to work on this, with the Value for Money Advisory Group providing a helpful forum to engage on this topic."