We know this has been said a lot over recent months, but it is important and undoubtedly front of mind for most universities. Students increasingly see themselves as consumers of, rather than simply participants in, higher education.* It’s simple really, those who are very conscious of paying for the experience become more conscious of what they’re paying for. That sense of being a consumer means continually weighing up the perceived value of goods and services versus the price paid for them and this extends beyond tuition.
Finance, therefore, is an important component of the student experience. In a 2013 UK survey “students spoke as often about immediate financial concerns, such as money for food, rent and transport, as about tuition fees and student loans.** The same survey suggests that students expect institutions to take on responsibility, oversight and partnership for things as varied as accommodation, transport, spaces, cheap/healthy food options and social activities. It also says students “focus on functional aspects of its infrastructure, including ease and reliability of accessing resources and quality of wireless and they value a high quality environment”.
In other words, students expect institutions to invest in the wider aspects of student life. Students have a loud collective voice in this highly competitive market. The Times Higher Education Student Experience survey, for example, takes into account 21 separate measures, one of which is ‘high quality facilities’ (well done to Loughborough who scored highest for this in the 2015 survey).
Student retention is also high on universities agendas and by improving, the broad student experience, can help cut withdrawal rates and is pivotal to the ability to attract future students.
Recruiting international students is lucrative but highly competitive with some government concerns that the UK isn’t attracting enough international students, who make a significant contribution to the economy and whilst international students perception of student satisfaction doesn’t necessarily drive their choice of institution, it does have a bearing on their decisions.
Universities will recognise that young people are early adopters of technology, like to use things they are familiar with (like mobile phones/tablets) and easy to use services.
Moving towards a cashless campus will help universities deliver an improved student experience and one that ticks many boxes for their students:
- One fast easy system to access a wide range of goods and services
- Reduces the students need to carry cash
- Funds can be added to their central account via their mobile phone
- Students have greater control over their finances
- They benefit from faster transaction times and have less time wasted queuing
- Students can quickly block a lost or stolen card and replacements are also quicker to issue than a debit card would be
- Parents can easily add funds to their accounts
If you would like to talk to us about going cashless as part of improving your student’s experience please call us on 01495 565066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Mourad, Ennew and Kouham – Brand equity in higher education, 2010.
** Kandiko and Mawer – Student expectations and perceptions of higher education, 2013.