Posted on Mon 19 Aug 2019 at 13:20 by Christopher Carter
Over the past few years, various Student Officers have campaigned to improve transparency and provision around Hidden Course Costs. These are all the costs associated with things like textbooks, trips, equipment and printing that are needed for a course or module, but no one ever tells you about – and sometimes, they can be very expensive!
This past year, former Education Officer Larissa Kennedy and I have been part of the Course Costs Working Group, which has sought to improve things for students. I’m pleased to say that we’ve reached a milestone in this area and have introduced a system which will greatly improve the transparency of extra course costs for students.
Now, all departments will have to fill out a central form relating to the costs associated with both their courses and modules. They’ll have to detail what counts as mandatory (as in, you can’t complete the learning objectives without these items) and what is optional but recommended (for example, a field trip or a study abroad opportunity). They will have to detail what can be provided by the department, or whether any items can be sourced alternatively (e.g. borrowed from the library), and then a rough cost associated with each item.
With this information, the University will be far more transparent with students about course costs by communicating this information with students clearly online. Furthermore, we will be able to see the range of provision given by different departments, and how consistent that provision is. In future years with new Student Officers, the group will then look at principles of what should and shouldn’t be provided by departments, and how we can support students who are unable to meet extra costs.
This is a really positive step in removing the barriers to accessing education. We have secured commitment from the University to be transparent about current course costs, and are working towards becoming more consistent across departments in the support provided. Both Larissa and I are really pleased with this progress and look forward to our successors, Chloe and Alice, moving things on in the next year and beyond!