Students can now compare details of every UK university course on new Unistats website
Key statistics about all university courses are now provided on a website available to all prospective students.
The website, called Unistats, will provide details such as course costs, teaching hours and graduate earnings.
All 31,000 higher education courses available in the UK are able to be viewed and compared on the website, which went live last week.
The information, which has been collated for the first time, is aimed at giving advice for students facing the higher tuition fees in 2013, and hopes to provide greater transparency on course expectations.
Students are able to draw up their own lists of possible courses and compare them according to their own preferences, such as their fees, student satisfaction ratings or how many hours of contact they will have.
The Business Secretary Vince Cable said that the website represented “a major step forwards for students, their parents and their school and college advisors.”
“Applying to university is a big decision and we want to ensure that all students, whatever their background, have the key facts at their fingertips to help them make the right choice for them,” he said.
The Russell Group, who represent some of the UK’s leading universities said: “We welcome anything which makes it easier for prospective students to make choices about which university they would like to study at.”
“But it is important to remember that all data can have its limitations and we urge students to read up on courses, go to open days and talk to careers advisors and others to find out what degree course will suit them.”
But the University and College Union (UCU), say the website’s emphasis on cost and financial benefits suggests the government is “trying to justify the massively increased cost of degrees.”
UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt, said: “Unless the government changes policy and invests more in supporting potential students, this new website will go the way of previous similar initiatives.”
“Students need proper support, not gimmicks.”
Mr Cable denies this: “We are not apologising for the system of pay put in place and we think it is a very good system that people from all backgrounds can benefit from.”
“Before, universities could pick and choose their students out of the batch that had applied. Now, students can compare universities based on past-student feedback among other things and make an informed decision about where they want to study.”