An investigation into the experiences of commuting students

Our research project into commuting students investigated the ways we could improve their experience at NTU.

Students at a bus stop

  • Aim

    The aim of the project was to explore the ways in which being a commuter student affects students' experiences and outcomes. This would be completed by considering the ways in which commuter students define themselves, understand why academic outcomes are typically poorer and identify practices which may be beneficial to enhancing commuter students' experiences and outcomes.

  • What it was

    This project explored nuances of the commuter student experience at NTU and the impact it has on student engagement and outcomes as well as identifying practices from the literature and other HEIs that might be useful to consider at NTU. The Educational Research and Evaluation team undertook analysis of progression and attainment data and led focus groups with students to explore the experiences of commuting students.

  • Why

    Research at several universities, notably Coventry and Kingston, has highlighted the impact of commuting on students. Evidence from NTU indicates that commuting students are less likely to progress than those living in NTU accommodation. An exploration of the phenomenon including impacts on student engagement and outcomes was designed to contribute towards increasing understanding and closing gaps in student success.

  • Headline Findings

    The project completed in June 2019 and the findings include:

    Commuter students at NTU are not a homogeneous group

    1. Formal integration of discussion around the existence and legitimacy of commuter students may assist in helping commuter students to feel recognised and included.
    2. Considering the generation of more comprehensive information for students who may not wish to live in student halls but travelling or living in Nottingham is unfamiliar. This could also be extended to assistance such as reviewing the parking permit allocation.

    Commuter students at NTU experience feelings of isolation

    1. Running events throughout the year to focus on commuter students outside of Welcome Week.
    2. Consider embedding opportunities for commuter students to get involved in sport activities.

    Commuting status has an impact on attendance and can lead to increased anxiety, particularly in final year

    1. For commuter students scheduling revision sessions with several in one day will help incentivise attendance.
    2. Consideration of subsided accommodation the night before a morning exam to address anxiety in conjunction with tailored wellbeing support.

  • Full Report

    The full report can be found here.

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