Study finds universities chosen for reputation

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Students pick their university based on reputation and history rather than quality of teaching and cost, according to a new city-based study.

Researchers at Edinburgh University analysed student application and entrance data for universities in England and Scotland between 1996 and 2010.

The study said: “The stronger conclusion from our study is that institutional hierarchies are resistant to change, and that it is unrealistic to expect any but the most powerful of interventions to have a radical impact. Moreover, the assumption underlying market policies, that consumers base their higher education choices on factors such as the content and price of their programmes, and not on factors such as their history and their past reputation, is questionable.”