Value of SUs

A group of SUs are collaborating on a new collective research project on the value of SUs.

At Wonkhe we’ll be helping out with the research design, analysis and promotion of any national findings. We’ll also handle the finances so if participation rests on the cost being in next financial year we can help! With university budgets across the sector under pressure this is a good opportunity to demonstrate our worth to students in a number of areas aligned to university strategies.

We envisage quite a tight turnaround on research design, and quite a focussed group of questions to keep the study affordable.

If you are interested in taking part at this stage, do email the team.

What are we asking?

  • We’ll collect all the usual student characteristics data, socio-economics proxies and study characteristics
  • We will effectively “re-do” the participation categories used in Only the Lonely back in January/February
  • We will also collect most of the mental health markers we used in January, as well as the friendship/loneliness self-perception
  • We will reproduce these NSS Questions to test correlation with other questions and factors (I feel part of a community of staff and students, The students’ union (association or guild) effectively represents students’ academic interests, Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course)
  • On graduate employment and course completion whilst we can look at grads and their involvement/perceptions, for current students we will test levels of optimism/pessimism/confidence about completion of course and future career
  • We will collect net promoter score on the university and union for correlation testing with other questions ie involvement
  • We’ll ask if students have you thought about leaving, test correlation to other questions and ask what stopped them


  • We’ll ask to what extent students feel like they fit in at university/belong at university
  • We’ll ask how students found out about involvement, and what motivated them to be involved
  • We’ll try to capture the types of issues they would like to see their SU focus on
  • When they see the phrase “students’ union” we’ll ask what springs to mind
  • We’ll ask if clubs and socs/SU building influenced students decision-making when choosing Uni
  • We’ll ask about the support students have found helpful whilst studying
  • We’ll test agreement with “I feel I can hold elected students at my students’ union to account/Students are actively involved in decision making in the students’ union”
  • We’ll ask about expectations of the SU prior to attending and if they were met
  • We’ll ask about importance of student spaces on campus where students can work, eat, book etc
  • We’ll ask about service usage/importance re Help with student employment/Professional advice/Cafe/Shop/Bar/Building/Other

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