Students back bailouts | HEPI / YouthSight Monitor #5 | March 2019

Voting | 07 Mar 2019


In wave 5 of the HEPI / Youthsight Monitor we review students' view surrounding the widely debated topic of institutional failure.

The monitor report compiled by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), was conducted following recent news stories that several universities are facing financial crisis.

So, what should be done when a university is on the brink of bankruptcy? The Office for Students (OfS) has clearly stated that bailout wasn't an option, but today we bring the students into the conversation.

The results in a nutshell

The HEPI/YouthSight report showed an overwhelming gap between the OfS stance and the student point of view. 77% of students feel that the government should step in if their university is threatened with closure and 97% said they’d want to know if their university is facing financial difficulty.

However, there is a lot at stake as 84% of students would be less likely to apply to a university in poor financial health; To tell or not to tell, the debate is just beginning.

It's also worth noting that there is very little awareness on the existing measures to protect students: only 11% knew what a Student Protection Plan was and 97% had not seen their own university’s Plan. 

Food for thought

The current government stance does not support bail outs and the OfS refuses to release the names of universities facing financial difficulty for fear it will cause severe reputational damage. And this is where the conflict between stakeholders arises.

Director of Policy and Advocacy at HEPI, Rachel Hewitt, commented: “This research shows a worrying mismatch between students’ views of what should happen to a university in financial difficulty and the proposed action that will be taken by the Office for Students.

“Government and the Office for Students must urgently engage more with the views of students on this critical issue of financial sustainability in the sector.”

About HEPI / Youthsight Monitor

The Youthsight / HEPI Monitor 5 reports are part of a series of research that evaluates the political views of students on important, topical issues. 

You can read the full report here or if you would like to benefit from more knowledge on students or the youth market in general, then feel free to get in touch with us.

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Download HEPI's press release or click here to view the full report.

HEPI Press Release Cover Image          HEPI Report cover


Media Coverage

This research has also been featured in the following press (click to read article):


This research was funded and sponsored by Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). Questions have been co-developed with HEPI. These results are based on findings from YouthSight’s Student Omnibus, the UK’s only weekly dedicated student omnibus survey. Fieldwork ran from 4th January 2019 to 8th January 2019. Each YouthSight Student Omnibus is based on at least 1,000 complete interviews with full-time undergraduates at publicly funded higher education institutions in the UK. Quotas are set for course year (1,2,3+), gender and university type (Russell group, pre 1992 universities, post 1992 universities and specialist institutions). Targets for the quotas are acquired using current data supplied by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Weights are also occasionally used to ensure the sample is fully representative. All completers received a credit of £1.67 in shopping voucher credits.  All participants are members of The OpinionPanel Community, YouthSight’s proprietary research panel, comprised of over 150,000 members aged 16 to 30 including 80,000 students.


YouthSight was established in 2004.  We help clients see the world through the eyes of young people, students and young professionals. Our Insight teams help brands, policy-makers and universities.  Our Panel and Data Services team helps market research and advertising agencies.  Findings from YouthSight are regularly in the news, helping to fuel debates around students, Gen Z and Millennials, trends in higher education and best practice in youth research.  We own and manage The OpinionPanel Community – the UK’s largest youth research community, comprised of over 150,000 16-30-year olds.


Managing Director: Ben Marks; dd 020 3961 6274
Associate Director: Andreanne Orsier; dd 020 3961 6271
Research Director: Josephine Hansom; dd 020 3961 6281 


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