Up to visit one of my favourite UK cities, Bristol to address Unite  (not the union, but providers of student housing). Student housing is big business and just one aspect of the university experience that has changed immeasurably in the last thirty years. Students are now consumers and have higher expectations of their universities regarding teaching, courses, housing, support and employability.

  • In 1960s only 4% of school leavers went to uni, by the 1970s it had risen to 14%; now it is edging towards 40%
  • We think of unis as ancient institutions but this is not true of the sector as a whole. Twenty years ago, 1/3rd unis hadn’t yet been founded; a further 1/3 were founded just forty years ago.
  • Grade inflation: In the 1990s, just a 1/3 of students achieved a 1st or 2:1; today over 2/3rds achieve the higher classifications. 
  • Parent power. They now attend open days and have as much stake in the investment as the student themselves. Still only 55% parents of 16-19 think that their child is able to cook a meal but over three-quarters (78%) of teenagers think they can.