Discursive framings of market-based education policy and their negotiation by students: the case of ‘value for money’ in English universities

Jones, Steven and Vigurs, Katy and Harris, Diane (2020) Discursive framings of market-based education policy and their negotiation by students: the case of ‘value for money’ in English universities. Oxford Review of Education. ISSN 0305-4985

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Abstract

Measures that economise education are typically accompanied by discourses that prime society for change by framing the policy in individualistic and consumeristic terms. This article explores the emergence of ‘value for money’ (VfM) discourses in the English higher education sector. Using Bourdieu’s thinking tools, we explore how VfM is conceptualised by final year undergraduates paying different levels of ‘headline’ tuition fees at a Russell Group and a Post-92 university. Unsurprisingly, we find qualitative evidence of an increase in VfM negativity as fees rise. However, this does not distribute evenly across different groups of students. At both institutions, undergraduates approach VfM in complex and unexpected ways, drawing on different capitals and often pushing back against dominant discourses. A key finding is that many students report high levels of satisfaction with their institution, course and teaching, while simultaneously expressing VfM negativity because they feel tuition fees are too high.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2019.1708711
Date: 26 January 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Value for money, marketisation, tuition fees, student finance, student wellbeing
Subjects: X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE) > Re-thinking Higher Education Pedagogies and Practice
REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA23: Education
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2020 13:15
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2020 16:26
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8859

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