Central to Birmingham City University’s strategy is transforming students and they have a number of goals that support this strategy:
- Ensuring that student learning and support enables students to progress to successful achievement.
- Maximising student satisfaction and the learning experience.
- Becoming recognised as the sector leader for student engagement
To support student learning and engagement, the University wanted to introduce a scheme that would take part of their cash bursary provision and turn it into a strategic driver of student engagement.
Working with JS Group, the University has introduced the BCU Aspire scheme. Under this scheme, 1st year students get a BCU Aspire branded smartcard with £150 of funds that they can spend on learning resources. The scheme has its own online student store – www.johnsmith.co.uk/bcu - and is managed by an on campus JS Group Engagement Partner. The Engagement Partner works with all the University stakeholders to promote the scheme and to report on student engagement. The Engagement Partner also recruits Student Ambassadors to discuss the scheme with students and to garner feedback on how the scheme can be improved.
Student take-up of the scheme has been high and the response very positive across a number of key criteria.
In terms of recruitment, BCU Aspire is #2 in the 11 reasons to choose BCU (https://www.bcu.ac.uk/student-info/why-study-at-bcu/why-choose-us) and students report it had a positive impact on their choice of university.
Importantly, students report that the scheme has helped them study and achieve whilst at BCU:
And students would recommend the University to others because of the scheme: