Study find unis failing “commuter students”

New research from Kingston University has recommended courses be altered to better suit students who commute long distances to university each day.

In their research paper, Kingston academics Barry Avery and Jane Southall argue that universities “should better understand the needs of commuter students” so they can reduce the stress caused by the social transitions these students experience in their first year of university. They add that institutions “should pay particular attention to the needs of those from non-traditional backgrounds as they may find the process even more challenging.”

Dr Deborah Anderson, associate professor in strategy, marketing and innovation at Kingston, said that having to travel to 9am classes during rush-hour traffic, having long gaps between lectures and commitments with group works can be difficult for students who commute.

This latest research concludes by suggesting that universities, “develop timetables that group sessions together to allow for economic use of time and opportunities for paid employment.”

It also recommends that universities “work more closely” with further education institutions to help students who will commute to university have an accurate understanding of what it will entail.

SU Undergraduate Education Officer Theo Antoniou-Phillips said, “One of the most miserable effects of the continued marketisation of education – and the fact that universities rely on undergrad fees for funding across the sector – is this homogenisation of provision, where courses are tailored exclusively to traditional, on-campus, full-time students.”

“Given the hauntingly low higher education participation rate for Norfolk and Suffolk it’s hugely important that UEA does all it can to break some of these moulds and makes the way courses are run more friendly to people from the area,” he said.

The research has also revealed that commuter students largely feel positive about choosing to live at home whilst they study.

Dr Anderson also stated that: “there is a massive number of students who want to live at home and lots may have family commitments, such as taking a younger sibling to school, that they can’t or don’t want to give up.”

She said that commuters “might see their own social life as quite separate from the university, but they are still making very positive choices about going to university.”


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October 2021
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