‘I use my time more wisely…’ The implications for learning and teaching in higher education of more ‘commuter students’

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In the UK students have traditionally moved away from home to study in higher education (HE), but this is changing as a consequence of greater participation rates, and higher tuition fees – and student loans - which may influence the behavior of lower-income students. This research under took 60 qualitative interviews with students of all ages who defined themselves as ‘commuters’, who continue to live at home whilst studying. The study found that while the students largely viewed themselves as ‘good students’ aiming to engage fully in their academic studies, the stresses and strains – and cost and time – involved in travelling - resulted in students evaluating the utility of a trip to campus, considering whether their resources would be better spent studying at home. In addition, these students tended to be less engaged in ‘enhancement’ activities, and had very little social engagement with HE peers. Nationally commuter students achieve less good outcomes, being more likely to withdraw early, achieve lower attainment and less likely to secure graduate employment on completion. This paper considers the implications for student engagement and teaching and learning of a larger commuter student population, in an effort to achieve greater equity in student outcomes in UK HE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNot Known
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Apr 2018
Event4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 20 Jun 201822 Jun 2018


Conference4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances


  • Commuter
  • live-at-home
  • student engagement
  • academic engagement
  • learning and teaching
  • equity

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