50 years of change for Universities and how these changes have affected significantly the student experience
Over the 50 years, university tuition fees have risen from students paying absolutely nothing to students paying £9,250 a year with tuition fees introduced in the late 1990s. University has, as a result of the diversification of the UK and with the growing middle class in nations outside of the West, seen increased numbers of students attending UK universities from all corners of the globe, with many attempting now to create a certain allure for international students to attend. The composition of students and faculty members has been the most significant change at universities, and other vital features have altered over the decades up until now.
Today females make up a more significant portion of the student body at 56.1%, while men make up 43.9% of the student body.
University as an institution has changed considerably and was revolutionising even 50 years ago during the 1970s, which saw increased participation of individuals as faculty members and growing diversity in the student body, specifically in regards to the male and female binary split of males attending higher education there were 48,0000. In contrast, 13,000 students were female. In the mid-90s it equalised to 174,000 men and 149,000 women. Today females make up a more significant portion of the student body at 56.1%, while men make up 43.9% of the student body.
The decades of the 1970s and 1980s saw increased protest movements, explicitly involving the apartheid movement in the 1980s. For example, rising tuition fees in 2010, and in London, over 50,000 planned to attend these particular protests. Also, protest against specific speakers has been a commonality that has continued throughout the last 50 years, including protests against guest speakers: Enoch Powell, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Germaine Greer and Eric Kaufman at the University of Bristol.
The 21st century has seen a similar return to the frequent protestation in the 1970s against the Vietnam War and other social issues, such as the latter stages of second-wave feminism. Similar action has occurred in the 21st century in response to the controversial 2003 Iraq war. American imperialism and student strike action mirror the student affection with the art of protesting and making each other’s voices heard. Many protests now are focussed on the rise of certain ideologies in populist political culture, anti-racism and exclusive law or policies.
Technology has enabled ease in communication time management and expansion in new ways of learning and memory retention.
Also, the diversity of courses is apparent now. The University curriculum was largely Eurocentric. Universities today look to act upon the decolonisation process of curriculums. This includes 1/5 of Universities in the UK due to the increasingly popular post-colonial ideology, the diversity of the student population, and the changing general understanding of human history, specifically regarding European history and Europe’s place in world history. Furthermore, material from courses without the advent of the online space that would be available made studying using physical resources the only option for students of the 1970s-1990s to a point. In the decade that preceded the age of technology and harnessing technology for academic purposes, we saw it in the 1980s and 1990s.
Technology has enabled ease in communication time management and expansion in new ways of learning and memory retention. For example, the internet and the immense library and wealth of information this has provided for students of the 21st century seems a great luxury compared to students who would have otherwise had to sift through long corridors and dusty bookshelves, taking up valuable time in their busy days.
The cost of University has also changed vastly over the 50 years. Recently with the rise in the cost of living and student tuition, many former students denigrated universities for their soaring costs. Approximately 45% of students balance a part-time job with studies in 2022 and 13% with full-time jobs over breaks in the academic year. Compared to students of the 1970s, students ”to afford tuition in 2020, public university students must work 6x as many hours as students in 1970.”