London Student

Transferring university should be easier: the UK needs to play catch up

Transferring universities is a daunting and inconceivable possibility for many. The limited information available and it’s lack of promotion as an alternative option, combined with a lengthy application process and huge financial risk, leaves thousands of students in a stagnant state of dissatisfaction and apathy.

Yet what if the process was to become more streamlined and the possibility to transfer a much more realistic goal? For countries such as Australia, transferring is to be expected of ambitious students and an acceptable norm given the changing circumstances of many.

Thus it is necessary to ask: why is the UK so far behind in this process?

Education advisors have resisted the universalisation of university credits. They cite administrative difficulties, competition for students and the possibility of institutional collapse if the outtake of students is greater than their intake. Unfortunately, the arguments against university transfers have accumulated and taken root, during a time when a student’s academic and social progress should be encouraged to flourish through change and adaptation.

What about the students themselves?

Everybody knows students are paying £9,250 of tuition fees each year and loaning up to £11,007 each for maintenance costs, but these numbers are not casual remarks or a humorous reminder of the amount some students pay to be in just 8 hours of university per week. Such numbers represent a personal investment and an opportunity to establish a stable foundation for future careers. A lack of institutional organisation is undermining the ambitions of many students, as the unwillingness of the government and universities to embark on legislative reform leaves thousands trapped in expensive and distressing situations.

At the most basic level, university students are paying customers and it is time for universities and government officials to not only recognise, but to take action on the rights of students as individual consumers. Ultimately, university is a product all students should have the right to transfer from, as a means of return.

At the most basic level, university students are paying customers and it is time for universities and government officials to not only recognise, but to take action on the rights of students as individual consumers.

If nothing else, increasing the mobility of university students is a matter of ethics, but the current process of transferring undermines individual agency. Currently, there is no tangible system to ensure sufficient regulation of the process. If a system such as UCAS is to be continued, a depersonalising and centralised system lacking the pragmatism of the real world, then surely universities need to establish credits which are more portable and reflect such uniformity.

Furthermore, it is essential to consider the long-term advantages of student mobility on universities. No longer would universities fall victim to complacency and lax policy. Rather, the possibility that students can assert their independence from institutional bureaucracy will guarantee an active responsiveness, thus ensuring the greater accountability of universities to maintain and improve their standards.

Too many times students wrongly associate their survival as dependent on the university of their first choice, but increasingly this is no longer the case. Greater prospects for transfer via uniform university credits and the end to a complex system unaligned with the UCAS process is fast approaching.

As universities continue investing millions into self-promotion and marketing, it is becoming increasingly evident that their survival depends on the student. As the student population becomes more vocal, it is only a matter of time before universities can no longer restrict and oppress their paying customers.

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Ella Lucas

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