Document Abstract

Public perceptions of UK universities

Presents the findings of research into what the public thinks of universities in the UK. Draws on data from quantitative surveys, deliberative workshops and pre-workshop online community discussions with participants. Examines public sentiment towards UK universities, the level of awareness of the public benefit of universities, and the drivers behind the publics views. Looks at: the level of pride in the sector; perceptions of the softer benefits experienced as a result of going to university; perceptions of positive impacts for local areas and communities; and the differences in perceptions in the devolved nations. Finds that: generally, the public are neutral or positive towards universities (78% say they are positive or neutral towards universities); universities are seen primarily as a mechanism for improving employment prospects; despite concerns about returns on investment, the belief that universities help people succeed and find better jobs holds; and the public are less familiar with the contribution universities make to local areas and local communities. Reveals that the public would be most interested in hearing about university research leading to new medical treatments or designing new products, and how the university experience can be more affordable for everyone, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Highlights opportunities for the sector to build greater positivity through sharing information, and calls for a UK-wide engagement strategy.


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