The increased cost of university is having an unexpected effect on students and student unions.
A new study has found that undergraduates these days are more likely to be found enjoying a latte in a study group than pounding cheap pints with their mates, and the shift in attitude may be a result of increasing tuition fees, the i100 reports.
Research by YouthSight and the National Union of Students (NUS) revealed that university life apparently no longer revolves around cheap alcohol at the student’s union, and instead academic clubs, support services and cafés on campus are the places to be.
Richard Brooks, NUS vice president for union development, explained his thoughts on why students were moving away from booze.
Ten or 15 years ago people went to university, obviously to learn something but also to make friends and have a good time. A lot of policy-makers who I talk to think it’s still like when they were at university but since the introduction of the £9,000 a year fees regime in 2012 students have become much more focused on employment prospects.
Today’s students are now much more likely to set up an academic society to provide the academic support that they may feel is lacking on their course.
Sales of draught and packaged beer in student unions across the country have plummeted over the past three years, the NUS said, while sales of hot drinks are up 11 per cent in the past year alone.
The survey of 1,000 undergraduates found the most useful services for students were clubs and societies (60 per cent), advice and support (50 per cent), and coffee shop and café facilities (43 per cent), with only 37 per cent identifying bars as the most useful service.
Coffee shops and cafés were the services most used by students (87 per cent), followed by the union shop (81 per cent) and clubs and societies (78 per cent), ahead of bars (74 per cent).
— The Independent (@Independent) February 22, 2016
However it seems not all students have shaken their boozy reputation, we spoke to a Lancaster University undergrad who was unsure about the survey’s results.
No, me and my friends definitely use the bar more than the union shop, I don’t go in it to be honest, it’s dead expensive. I think that the increased fees probably means people work harder but they still like to have fun.
So maybe the days of the stereotypical student aren’t completely behind us just yet…