Second Step

This stage started in September 2015 and ended in August 2016. The second phase aimed at testing the effect of the introduction of a set of welfare services implemented by EDUCatt within the four sites of the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore on the perceived needs and satisfaction of students identified with the first stage of the research.

The services implemented tried to answer to the critical theme of interests identified with the “red zone” of the EDUCatt WISE Matrix:

  • – Services of the Exit phase;
  • – Housing;
  • – Study and personal development support;
  • – Services for International students.

Implemented services’ impact

The research methodology chosen was a quasi-experiment to estimate the causal impact of the introduction of 11 new welfare services on the students population of the University Cattolica of Sacro Cuore. Data were collected through the same structured online survey sent to the same sample as in the previous investigation, 12 months later the first investigation. The aim of the study was to test the possible effect of the utilization of at least one of the new services on the importance’s degree of students’ perceived needs and on the level of satisfaction of services linked to these needs.

Therefore, the survey evaluated through a Likert scale 1-5 the degree of satisfaction concerning the 11 services implemented, in addition to the previous categories of needs and services already tested within the first phase of the research. In order to estimate the impact the following statistical tests were used:

  • – Analysis of variance (ANOVA) between the group that experimented at least one of the services (treated group) and the one that do not use it;
  • – Correlation analysis and multivariate regression to test if the utilization of new services affected the degree of importance of needs and the level of satisfaction;
  • – Repeated measures ANOVA  to detect any overall differences between related means of level of importance of needs and degree of satisfaction of the sample that answered to both the surveys and used at least one of the 11 new services.

Table 1 shows the set of services test within the experiment.

Table 1 – Implemented services

Implemented services Description University Site
Wellness Management of campus sports facilities (tennis, basketball, volleyball and football) Rome
my FOOD area Space  specifically  created  for  students  who decide to autonomously provide lunch Milan, Rome and Piacenza
Area duepunti (food e servizi) Area  where  students  could  take  a  quick  meal, on site or with the take away service Milan, Rome and Piacenza
Accesso alla mensa per studiare Access to the canteen to study Milan, Rome and Piacenza
Servizi di assitenza sanitaria General and specialist health care and issue of

fitness sport medicine certificates

Consulenza psicologica Possibility  of  meetings  with  psychologists  and psychotherapists about personal, relational and study difficulties Milan, Brescia, Piacenza/Cremona and Rome
Borse plus 400 grants for students who cannot access the

EDUCatt scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year

Milan, Brescia, Piacenza/Cremona and Rome
Guest house “incampus guesthouse” A residence for international students, guests and Visiting Professors for short- stay Rome
Dotstay Online Platform born to meet the students demand to find a low  costs  private  accommodation  but  offering  the  guarantees  in  terms  of  reliability  and  quality


Orientamento verso il mondo del lavoro Services of job orienteering (ex. draft  of  your  CV, the  job  interview  management,  social  recruiting,  the  Youth  garantee


Milan, Brescia, Piacenza/Cremona and Rome
Progetto collegialmente green Working lab for students of university residence concerning the topics of environment and sustainability Milan and Piacenza

The sample

    Italy (Pre)
(n. 7,857)
  Italy (Post)  
  N % N %
Email/questionnaires delivered   34554   33857  
Completed questionnaires   4711   3051  
Response rate (%)   13,63   9,011  

A total amount of 33.857 questionnaires was sent to the students of the 4 sites of University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The total number of surveys collected is 3.051 with a total response rate of 9,011%. Of the sample 677 took part both in the first and second stage of the research.

Table 2 – General statistics

(n. 4,709)
(n. 3,051)
(n. 7,760)
(n. 677)
N % N % N % N %
Male 1,347 28.7 832 27.3 2,179 28.1 163 24.1
Female 3,344 71.2 2,219 72.5 5,563 71.9 514 75.9
Purpose of current studies                
Bachelor 2,521 53.5 1,684 55.2 4,205 54.2 374 55.2
Master 2,114 44.9 1,284 42.1 3,398 43.8 296 43.7
Doctoral 74 1.6 81 2.7 155 2.0 7 1.0
With the family 2,988 63.5 2,007 65.8 4,995 64.2 465 68.7
Outside family in a student residence 188 4.0 354 11.6 542 7.0 76 11.2
Outside family in an open market apartment 872 18.5 529 17.3 1,401 1.8 104 15.4
Alone in a student residence 209 4.4 96 3.1 305 3.9 21 3.1
Alone in an open market apartment 312 6.6 63 2.1 375 4.8 11 1.6
Other 140 3.0 23 0.7 163 2.1
Employed 958 20.3 640 21.0 1,598 20.6 550 81.2
Not-employed 3,751 79.7 2,411 79.0 6,162 79.4 127 18.8

Sample characteristics not differ so much from the first survey. As in the first investigation, considering the gender of students, the majority of them are female (72.5%).

Regarding the purpose of current studies (bachelor, master and doctoral degree) of the interviewed students, 55.2% are bachelor students, 42.1% are master students and only 2,7% are doctoral students.

Concerning the different housing possibilities of the interviewed students the majority of them live with the family (65,8%); as far as the percentage of students living outside family is concerned the 17,3% of them prefer living in an open market apartment with roommates, while the 11,6% of students choose a student residence. Only 3,1% of students live alone in a student residence and 2,1% of them live alone in an open market apartment.

With regard to the employment status of the interviewed students, the 79,0% declared themselves as not employed. The “employment” status confirms data about the housing conditions. Since the majority of them are unemployed students the respondents prefer living with their families.

Table 3 shows in the first column on the whole sample the new service usage, while in the second column (titled “repeated”)  it reports  the new services usage rate of those students who took part both to the first and second investigation. For the services “Borse Plus” and “Guest House” the survey simply asked if respondents know about them. For all the services implemented the table shows the number of potential users, which differ between the services due to the fact that some of them have been implemented only in some sites of the University Cattolica. The services more used by students are the ones of the “Food” area. Among them, the service “Area duepunti” is the one more appreciated (47,3%), followed by “my FOOD area” (25,2%) and Access to the Canteen (21,7%).  Besides this area, students appreciate particularly the service of the Financial Area “Borse Plus”, 39,7% of students declare they are aware of it.

Table 3 – Services usage

Services Post       Repeated    
N. potential
  N. potential
Wellness 411 48 11.7   92 16 17.4
MyFood 2,652 669 25.2   568 140 24.6
duepunti 165 78 47.3   40 19 47.5
Mensa 2,406 522 21.7   516 117 22.7
Health 3,052 352 11.5   677 132 19.5
Psychological 3,052 26 0.9   677 11 1.6
Borse Plus 3,052 1211 39.7   677 291 43.0
Guest House 165 3 1.8   109 1 0.9
Dotstay 2,241 36 1.6   476 12 2.5
Work orientation 3,052 233 7.6   677 66 9.7
Collegialmente green 2,487 48 1.9   528 8 1.5

Table 4 compares if and how the perceived importance of needs change according to the utilization of the new services. The first two columns show the mean of the evaluation given to each category of needs by respondents in the first investigation (pre) and in the second one (post). The third column reports differences among the evaluations. Each needs and services has been evaluated with a Likert scale 1-5.

Results show that the introduction of new services has not particularly change the perception of needs of respondents; in fact the change between the means of the evaluation covers a range between 0.15 and 0.87.

Table 4 – Perceived importance of needs

  Pre       Post       Differences    
N M SD   N M SD   N M SD
Entry phase 4,698 3.79 0.60   n.a. n.a. n.a.   n.a. n.a. n.a.
Food needs 4,709 3.60 0.76   3,050 3.75 0.75   -1,659 0.15 -0.01
Financial support needs 4,709 4.37 0.72   3,048 3.86 0.80   -1,661 -0.51 0.08
Housing needs 4,707 3.81 0.77   3,047 4.39 0.72   -1,660 0.58 -0.05
Health and psychological needs 4,706 3.41 0.90   3,044 3.00 1.12   -1,662 -0.41 0.22
Study and personal development needs 4,709 3.89 0.55   3,047 3.49 0.92   -1,662 -0.40 0.37
Sports needs 4,703 3.05 1.10   3,047 3.92 0.58   -1,656 0.87 -0.52
Exit phase 2,862 3.97 3.33   1,879 4.27 0.65   -983 0.30 -2.68

Similarly, table 5 shows the evaluations expressed by the sample of the two investigations and the related differences between the average values. Also in this case the sample evaluation has not changed so much, with the exception of the area “Health and Psycological needs” (-1.20), but it has to be considered the few answered collected in the second investigation (only 30).

Overall, however, all the areas of services have been positively evaluated by the respondents, with a minimum score of 3.00 on a Likert Scale 1-5.

Table 5 – Satisfaction for used services

  Pre       Post       Differences    
N M SD   N M SD   N M SD
Entry phase 4,140 3.12 0.85   2,543 3.27 0.86   -1,597 0.15 0.01
Food needs 2,969 3.13 0.85   1,369 3.00 0.86   -1,600 -0.13 0.01
Financial support needs 819 3.95 0.88   188 3.08 0.86   -631 -0.87 -0.02
Housing needs 351 3.13 0.76   484 4.00 0.81   133 0.87 0.05
Health and psychological needs 361 3.78 1.06   30 2.58 1.05   -331 -1.20 -0.01
Study and personal development needs 1144 3.32 0.93   230 3.79 0.91   -914 0.47 -0.02
Sports needs 104 3.18 1.24   675 3.44 0.84   571 0.26 -0.40
Exit phase 1293 3.04 1.12   761 3.05 1.10   -532 0.01 -0.02

Table 6 compares shows the effect of utilization on change of satisfaction.
The possibility of bringing food from home is seen as an indirect form of financial support and as a chance to eat in a more healthy way.

Table 6 – Effect of utilization on change of satisfaction (t-tests)

Entry phase Food Housing Finance Health and psychol. Study and pers. develop. Exit phase
Wellness 1.46 0.39 -1.82 3.59*** 0.34 -1.03 0.42
MyFood -1.88* -0.72 1.07 -2.02** 0.90 -0.72 0.15
duepunti 0.43 -0.41 0.07 -1.05 0.00 1.23 0.41
Mensa 0.05 -0.23 0.38 -0.52 -0.93 -2.06** -0.80
Health -0.30 0.33 1.53 -1.29 0.04 -1.83* 1.95*
Psychological -0.24 -0.75 0.89 -0.17 -1.09 0.62 -0.66
Borse Plus -1.18 -0.09 0.28 2.17** -0.61 0.92 -0.51
Dotstay -1.75* -0.42 -0.59 -0.91 -0.27 -0.99 0.76
Work orientation 0.54 -1.26 -0.46 -0.80 0.71 1.94** -0.37
Collegial. green 0.12 -0.24 1.65 0.90 -0.94 -0.87 1.13


t-values; * p-value <0.10; ** p-value <0.05; *** p-value <0.01.
Table 7 shows that the use of new services does not affect the perception of the importance of needs, the level of the same remains almost unchanged

Table 7 – Effect of utilization on change of perceived needs (t-tests)

Entry phase Food Housing Finance Health and psychol. Study and pers. develop. Exit phase
Wellness n.a. 0,87 0,26 -0,53 -0,27 -1,52 -0,35
MyFood n.a. 0,65 1,84* -1,32 -0,46 0,78 1,17
duepunti n.a. 1,34 0,45 -1,13 0,54 0,80 -0,32
Mensa n.a. 0,56 0,47 -1,25 0,39 -0,50 0,15
Health n.a. 1,23 -0,24 -1,09 -0,76 0,53 -0,81
Psychological n.a. 0,41 0,48 -0,47 -0,15 -0,24 0,08
Borse Plus n.a. -0,59 -0,31 -0,47 0,09 0,50 -0,67
Dotstay n.a. 1,24 -0,19 -1,00 -0,73 0,00 -0,56
Work orientation n.a. -0,47 -1,62 0,53 -0,61 -0,65 -0,89
Collegial. green n.a. 0,87 0,26 -0,53 -0,27 -1,52 -0,35


t-values; * p-value <0.10; ** p-value <0.05; *** p-value <0.01.

Table 8 shows the effect of intensity of utilization on change of satisfaction (correlation),
everything remains unchanged , except the Wellness indicator increases financial need

Table 8 – Effect of intensity of utilization on change of satisfaction (correlation)

Entry phase Food Housing Finance Health and psychol. Study and pers. develop. Exit phase
Wellness 0.17 0.10 -0.40 0.74** 0.11 -0.24 0.26
MyFood -0.07 -0.06 0.05 0.28 0.02 -0.09 0.07
duepunti 0.00 -0.03 -0.04 -0.50 0.00 0.45 0.38
Mensa 0.01 -0.02 0.03 0.04 -0.19 -0.18 -0.04
Health 0.00 -0.03 0.13 -0.16 -0.10 -0.18 0.08
Psychological -0.03 -0.04 0.05 -0.03 -0.16 0.05 -0.06

t-values; * p-value <0.10; ** p-value <0.05; *** p-value <0.01.

In the table 9 we can see the Effect of intensity of utilization on change of needs perception (correlation).
It can see that heavy usage of Myfood reduces the need for perceived financial.

Table 9 – Effect of intensity of utilization on change of needs perception (correlation)

Entry phase Food Housing Finance Health and psychol. Study and pers. develop. Exit phase
Wellness n.a. 0.09 0.04 -0.07 0.17* 0.12 0.16
MyFood n.a. 0.05 0.07 -0.28** -0.01 -0.02 0.00
duepunti n.a. -0.06 0.12 -0.13 -0.43** -0.15 -0.06
Mensa n.a. 0.07 0.09* -0.04 -0.03 0.04 0.04
Health n.a. 0.04 0.05 -0.04 -0.06 0.01 -0.06
Psychological n.a. 0.06 0.04 -0.00 -0.01 -0.02 -0.04


Focus group

The partner universities:

– Catholic University of Croatia

– The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

– Åbo Akademi University of Turku, Finland

have developed, at their premises, meetings were attended by students and employees in the period from September 2015 to January 2016.

Focus interviews were intended to clarify the results obtained during the first phase of the WISE project – the survey fulfilled by a wide range of students. The results concerned the service areas which students assessed as important and simultaneously not satisfied. The analysis of group interviews focuses on services, which are located in the so-called “red zone area”. During the focus with university staff, some topics partly included in the “red zone area” were added: services dedicated to international and disabled students care, housing. Apart from that, other issues were also mentioned, discussed e.g. sport.

All students were recruited via email and personal through the personal contact.

That fore, at the beginning of the focus groups, to the participants were shown the questionnaire and the results of the first survey phase presented in WISE matrix. Further, participants were invited to comment following questionnes:

1. Why do you think that this need or this service has been rated in this way? Which factors have led to this rating?

2. How would you comment the rates of utilization on this service?

3. Do you think this is specific for Croatian Catholic University?

4. How do you think this services could be improved? Either by improving already existing services or by creating new services?

The focus group results should be read as illustrative, it is clear that you are faced with a wide range of challenges, for which the students showed only a partial level of understanding.


At the end of the research, it is evident that the testing of new services does not affect significantly on perception of satisfaction and importance of needs.

A consideration should be made on the type of activated services: services related to the core business entity of the right to education (financial support, accommodation and food) have the greatest impact on improving satisfaction.

The services not related to the core business , although most innovative , no impact on increasing satisfaction.
The indication of policy that results is that the legal entities in the study should focus resources on the most closely related services to the financial support.

A research limit is the time interval elapsing from the use of the service; probably a horizon than 6 months is too limited to modify the feedback of satisfaction and would require a longer period of time , maybe equal to the duration of the academic year .

Finally, one last consideration: it is said that the legal entities in the study should consider the satisfaction of its students as the only decision- lever. Because they also have a cultural and social role of education for future generations.


Focus Interviews at Åbo Akademi University 

The recruitment of participants for the focus groups at Åbo Akademi University (henceforth: ÅAU) was conducted during November-December 2015. A total of 19 students and 9 members of staff participated in six interviews with students and two with the personnel.
General outlines

Each focus interview began with an introduction: the WISE-project in brief, the content and structure of the survey, rating scales, and a matrix showing the summarized results. The following themes were addressed in the focus group interviews at ÅAU: 1) entry phase, 2) exit phase, 3) health and psychological support and 4) studies and personal development. These themes were chosen according to the ‘red zones’ that were established in the ÅAU WISE survey results: students had assessed certain needs as important, but the satisfaction regarding the service answering to these needs showed either a slight or a significant negative correlation.

In the special categories (international students, disabled students) the interviews were focused on the survey questions for these specific categories.

The following focus questions were used as a starting point in all interviews:

1. Why do you think that this need and/or this service has been rated in this way? Which factors do you think have led to this rating?

2. How would you comment the rates of utilization on this service?

3. Do you think this is specific to ÅAU? If yes, why?
4. How do you think Åbo Akademi University could improve the services – either by improving already existing services or by creating new services – in order to better meet the needs?

Based the focus group interviews conducted at ÅAU the following conclusions were made regarding the four (4) main focus themes (more elaborated conclusions are found in the complete report about the ÅÂU focus interviews):

Entry phase

  • • Webpages the university website needs to be well-structured and focused on the information most relevant for the different phases of studies.
  • • Interactions prior to enrolment should include an official take on social media.
  • • Orientation period requires that all support resources (personnel) have a common strategy when working towards a common goal in order to facilitate a successful integration of all new students.
  • • The initial orientation period should mainly focus on the information needed during the first weeks of study; additional information should be put into the program later on.

Exit phase

  • • Career counseling throughout the studies.
  • • Especially within multidisciplinary higher education, more systematic cooperation between subjects and departments.
  • • Networking with alumni activities and cooperation with associations and business life is important to integrate in higher education courses, e.g. through project and team work.

Health and psychological support

  • • Students should be offered appropriate tools to handle stress and other psychological challenges
  • • The well-being of a student requires the systematic cooperation between the university and the external instances that provide health care for students.
  • • Sufficient counseling resources, affordable health services, psychological support services would benefit the mental health of the student.

Studies and personal development

  • • The university should offer courses in academic and learning skills that allow the student to practice the skills that need to be developed.
  • • The university should offer facilities that support the varying working methods used within the study programs.

International students

  • • Housing for international students should be made more accessible and affordable.
  • • Language courses need to be available for international students to improve their level of knowledge of the host country’s language.
  • • International students need support in learning the academic culture of the host country,

Students with disabilities

  • • Need to get information about the support and assistive tools that are available at the university at an early stage, preferably pre-arrival.
  • • Personal counseling should be offered at the very beginning of the studies in order to map out the needs of the student in regards to the support that is available.
  • • Access for all should be the starting point in all planning, and inclusion should be the ultimate goal.

Focus group sessions at the Catholic University of Croatia

Two student focus groups and one employee focus group session were held during the third phase of WISE project at the Catholic University of Croatia (hereinafter: the University), in January 2016. The employees participating in the focus group had been in direct contact with students and had participated actively in the creation of social welfare of the students.  The first focus group comprised of 12 students, whereas the second focus group included 11 students, all from diverse university departments (sociology, psychology and history) and different years of study (1st to 3rd year of undergraduate study and 1st and 2nd year of graduate study) and from different Croatian cities (including Zagreb). The third focus group comprised of 5 University employees. All students were recruited via email and personal through the personal contact. While there is no foreign (international) students during this academic year and we have just a few students with disabilities, we didn’t conduct focus groups with those groups (as our partners did).  All of them have signed informed consent forms. Audio recordings of focus group sessions were subsequently transcribed and analysed using the thematic analysis, i.e. through segmentation of transcripts according to the topics and the issues addressed.

Focus groups were intended to clarify the results achieved during the first phase of WISE project, i.e. through a survey questionnaire. The results concerned the service areas which students assessed as important, but with which they were not sufficiently satisfied (those were considered in WISE project as ‘red zone’ areas). This primarily concerned student nutrition, assistance and support provided to students upon the completion of studies, and the area of finances. That fore, at the beginning of the focus groups, to the participants were shown the questionnaire and the results of the first survey phase presented in WISE matrix. Further, participants were invited to comment following questionnes:

1. Why do you think that this need or this service has been rated in this way? Which factors have led to this rating?

2. How would you comment the rates of utilization on this service?

3. Do you think this is specific for Croatian Catholic University?

4. How do you think this services could be improved? Either by improving already existing services or by creating new services?

As a result, we got 3 hours of audio materials and 30 pages of transcribed texts.

Some conclusions refer specifically to the Catholic University of Croatia which was founded in 2006 and commenced operating (with its first generation of students) in 2009. As such, those conclusions can be taken as illustrative of a young university established based on the model of public-private partnership that has been facing a vast array of challenges throughout its development, for which students have shown merely a partial level of understanding. Consequently, the results concerning the general assertions on the issues of social welfare and those concerning specifically to the Catholic University of Croatia will be presented separately.


The first topic addressed by focus groups included the explanation of a low level of satisfaction expressed concerning the services of student nutrition provided, the methods of utilisation of the services provided and the recommendations for their improvement.

Satisfaction with student nutrition services provided 

The biggest problem pointed out by the students is the distance between the student canteen and the University (the canteen is currently not included within the University place). In order for students to reach the canteen, they need to be allowed the sufficient amount of time for their departure, the meal and the return to the lectures. Student satisfaction is also considerably affected by the fact that the canteens are overcrowded and hence there are long lines at meals. In addition, the canteens are not open throughout the day and hence it is sometimes not possible for students to get a hot meal. Moreover, the canteens’ operating hours are in two shifts and it frequently occurs that their working hours and student breaks are uncoordinated. The quality of food is satisfactory, but the variety and options of food were less satisfactory. Furthermore, some participants have highlighted the fact that the food is tasteful, but unhealthy. Due to their frequent inability to reach the student canteen and the need to depend on bakery products, food quality cannot be satisfactory.

The menu at the University: the coffee shop operating at the University premises did not use to provide any food. Although recently it has introduced bakery products, it does not appear to boost satisfaction levels amongst the students due to the fact that a baker’s shop is located near the University premises and its bakery product range is substantially richer. However, bakery products are not considered as desirable nutrition. During the previous academic year the coffee shop provided other food, albeit at excessive prices and hence this option was unacceptable for students.

Utilising the food services 

Food services primarily refer to the services provided by student canteens, as well as the consumption of bakery products, food purchases at the nearby stores and finally from snack vending machines located at the University premises.

Adverse circumstances concerning food services: the participants stressed the spatial distance and the amount of time required to reach the canteens, unsatisfactory lecture schedule (fragmented, discontinued); high food prices unless food has been subsidised by the government. They pointed out the embarrassment before their professors, as well as the intolerance expressed by some professors concerning their being late for the lectures due to the issues linked with the canteens.

Food consumption at the University premises: another problem is that there is no dedicated area for eating food brought from home or outside, while at the same time it is not allowed to eat food in the University lecture halls. When weather conditions are favorable, students can have their meals in the area surrounding the University. In addition to the issue of insufficient space, there is an issue of insufficient time, i.e. excessively short breaks in the lecture schedule and hence insufficient time to reach the nearby store, bakery or student canteen and have a meal.

Solutions to food services issues provided by the students: concerning the previously mentioned issues, students most frequently opt for bakery products, some students bring their food from home and also find a place to eat somewhere (corridors, benches around the University, lecture halls during breaks between lectures); yet they are frequently hungry and look forward to returning home to have a hot meal prepared by their families or by themselves.

Recommendations for service improvement 

Participants were aware that the University has been planning construction of student canteen within the University campus and that construction is underway. Nevertheless, they suggested options that could be introduced and implemented in the near future, and also in longer-term, to improve the situation with student nutrition.

Implementable over a short period: lecture schedule needs to be organised aiming to ensure longer breaks and at least one break per day during which students are provided sufficient time to reach the student canteen, have their meal and return to the University premises in time for the next lecture. A proposal was put forward concerning student coupons which they could use in restaurants that provide subsidised meals. Moreover, affordable daily catering was also proposed for the students opting for this solution.

Another proposal was aiming to introduce hot meals at the coffee shop operating at University premises, in order to replace the bakery products provided so far. It was suggested that it is the responsibility of the University administration, which should get an agreement with the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports regarding the subsidised meals provided at the coffee shop. In addition, occasional late student arrivals to lectures need to be more tolerated by the professors.

Another possibility was identified in the social organisation of students concerning spreading of information on nearby venues where affordable and yet higher quality meals are provided, as well as in individuals organising and fetching meals for a group of students.

Proposals to be implemented in the future: student canteen needs to be opened in the area near the University, i.e. in the University campus and meals should be provided at prices affordable for students. Moreover, prices of student meals need to be uniform accross all student canteens.


In this theme, participants addressed the issue of services provided upon the completion of studies and the services aimed at preparing students for the labour market. It is important to highlight the fact that Catholic University of Croatia saw the first completion of graduate studies in only one department (History Department) and in other departments only undergraduate students have completed their studies. This fact has been identified as important by the study participants.

The importance of services provided upon the completion of studies (pre-employment services)

The participants believe that these services are important for all students, yet the level of importance attributed to them varies.

These services are considered as significant since they assist students in the acquisition of supplementary skills that will help them in competing on the labour market, especially during job interviews. They stated it was something that could make them considerably distinct from other candidates who had graduated in the same field, but at other universities.

Using these services is also important during the course of studies, since they can help students in overcoming the crises they experience concerning the perseverance of studying. They can also help them in making decisions about which study programme to choose in later stages of their studies (e.g. which graduate programe) or in opting for a different study programme on time in case they feel they had chosen a study programme that is inappropriate for them. Some recognise the importance of communication and presentation skills as a useful additional knowledge also for the teaching profession for which they are being educated and trained.

Participating students also recognise the increasing requirement for this type of services, since the Catholic University of Croatia is currently still rather new on the labour market and it hence requires supplementary skills in order to be more effectively presented on the labour market.

Use of services provided upon the completion of studies (pre-employment services)

The participants concluded that there is currently no organised provision of such services by the University, yet it is understandable since the provision of such services had not been required until last year which saw the first generations completing the final years of study.

Nevertheless, throughout the studies students acquire specific transferable knowledge and skills, depending on the department of study; the commitment of individual professors; personal student initiative; and University regulations and procedures. Consequently, students from Sociology Departments emphasised the fact that they have been learning an array of relevant issues also during two courses included in the regular study programme. Lectures for Communicology students have been organised in a manner which enables them to gain a considerable insight into practical matters. Students attending graduate study programmes acquire knowledge through a special module intended for acquisition of teacher competencies. Some transferable skills are acquired through seminars, primarily writing and presentation of papers. University employees stated that students acquire a substantial amount of knowledge indirectly, through diverse forms and procedures (motivational intervju at enrolling at the university, writing requests, complaints etc.), as well as through student employment. Students point out that some professors involve them in projects and hence they gain insight in the practice of their profession. Moreover, they highlight the efforts of some professors who provide guidelines to enhance their professional knowledge through individual consultations, yet they also expressed criticism of the fact that it all depends exclusively on the efforts and commitment of individual professors or students who initiate consultations on their own initiative. They also recognised the provision of assistance through a Volunteer group and opportunities of providing references by the professors or the Rector.

The required knowledge and competencies can also be acquired outside the University, f.e. Psychology Weeks organised at another faculty, or through services and programmes provided by the Croatian Employment Service.

Recommendations on service enhancement 

This subtopic invited an active discussion concerning two possible methods of providing the assistance: whether it should be provided within the regular curriculum (study program) or outside of it (extracurricular). The students also expressed their opinion on whether this should be considered as a compulsory or an elective programme for students. The issue of the most appropriate time for the commencement of service provision was addressed and hence several additional comments were provided. Extracurricular and elective methods were given slight preference by the participants and students believe they should be implemented during later phases of undergraduate studies.

Service provision included in the curriculum: students who pointed out the importance of this method believe it to be the most appropriate since it would ensure acquisition of transferable and professional knowledge and skills for all the students. Knowledge and skills acquisition could be achieved by integrating relevant content within several courses, with at least one lesson per course dedicated to the topic of professional skills and orientation. Students emphasised that this should not provide additional burden on the lectures or the professors.

Extracurricular service provision: some students thought that transferable and professional knowledge and skills should be taught as separate modules or programmes, outside the regular study courses. They proposed that such a programme should be implemented by independent experts who are not University employees (non-teaching staff), so the students will feel less intimidated. Another option would be for the University to employ an expert which would be continuously available for consultations. Moreover, students need to be encouraged to attend educational programmes and programmes organised and provided elsewhere.

Should this programme be compulsory? According to the attitudes expressed by the students, should the programme be compulsory, everyone would consider it as important and hence everyone would gain insight into the matter. Should the programme be included in the curriculum, it would became more dynamic. Participants expressed their concern regarding the option of its being provided as elective, since a large number of students would in that case not attend it – as a result of sheer comfort or practicality. The participants who emphasised that it should be an elective programme pointed out the fact that it would attract those who are really interested in the matter and that although everyone would have the opportunity to attend them, the programmes would not be considered as an additional burden.. The issue of aversion towards compulsory programmes has also been highlighted and consequently opting for elective programmes has been considered as a considerably more appropriate and higher quality service provision for those interested in the matter. It can be noted that the number of students in favour of elective programmes merely slightly exceeded those supporting the compulsory programmes.

The best timeframe for service provision during the studies: most participants believe that it would be useful to commence service provision starting from the second or third year of undergraduate study, since in this way students can prepare more effectively for the labour market or terminate their studies if they do not fulfil student wishes or are not in line with their abilities.

Options applicable over a relatively short period of time: students have expressed expectations from professors concerning a higher quantity of advice provided and more guidelines to the world of labour linked with their profession. They believe this could be achieved through seminars, provision of examples of best practices, organisation of expert visits and improvement of presentation skills through feedback. In addition, informative workshops with experts can be organised and the curriculum should include a greater number of student projects and workshops. University employees pointed out the fact that professors’ awareness of their educational role needs to be raised and hence students need to be clearly guided and specifically educated concerning this issue (e-mail writing, rules of formal procedures, to name a few).


The participants also discussed the importance of financial support and the obstacles encountered. They are aware of the general social situation and the difficult economic situation in the country and they hence could not provide any significant recommendations for improvement, with the exception of the opportunities provided by the University.

The importance of financial support

The participants pointed out the issues concerning insecurity of their parents’ jobs, since the financial support provided to students depends primarily upon the parents. In case of parental job loss or salary cuts, it is usually impossible for a student to continue their studies without a scholarship. Consequently, besides the parents, the state is considered as the second most important provider of financial support. Although there are no reliable indicators, the University employees participating in the focus group expressed their opinion that socio-economic status of students is mostly low to middle, yet most students do not encounter any serious financial obstacles. They also remarked that the striving to improve one’s own financial situation is a common feature of student life.

Utilisation of the financial support services

There is also awareness of inexistence, as well as the impossibility of development of independent financial mechanisms at the University. It has been noted that the University presents money awards to the best students. Moreover, students are provided financial support also through scholarships (awarded by the state as well as by the local or regional self-government) and student jobs. The University employees also noted that students normally do not take into account the financial support provided by the state which is provided through free health insurance for all students, free education and the benefits granted to their parents due to their student status.

Assessment of the current situation and obstacles for a more successful utilisation of financial support 

An assessment of the current situation and most frequent obstacles encountered by the participants has been made concerning scholarships and student jobs. It has been noted that state scholarships are being disbursed with delays and in larger lumps of money due to overdue payment. Students consider such payments as non-purpose funds, as they do not come regularly to cover the study expenses and needs throught the year. Furthermore, the number of student jobs available is decreasing, due to high levels of demand, as well as the fact that employers’ requirements are increasing and even for students the working hours have been extended to eight hours a day.

Specific features linked with the Catholic University of Croatia: the obstacles pointed out by student participants primarily concern the modes of studying at the University, which are in compliance with the Ordinance on Study Regulations and Programmes of the University through which the Bologna Process is implemented. Attendance at lectures is compulsory, with a 30% absence limit. In all courses there are regular knowledge assessments (one or more colloquia each semester) and achieving a minimum score on these assessments is required to become eligible for taking the final exam. These assessments also contribute to the final grade (up to 70%). Students consider this mode of studying as unhelpful, since they spend an excessive amount of time sitting at lectures and work-related absences are not allowed (while at the same time employers’ demands in terms of working hours are continuously increasing). Student obligations related to preparation for seminars and colloquia within a large number of courses are considered as excessive burden on their free time which they could use for student jobs. Furthermore, it they do not invest sufficent time in preparing for seminars and colloquia, they reduce their chances of obtaining higher final grades that would ensure them priority upon applying for scholarships. Students engaged in part-time jobs are thus disadvantaged in comparison to students who don’t have to work and can commit themselves exclusively to studying. Student participating in focus groups also pointed out the fact that some lectures are postponed and rescheduled for different days and times, but their attendance remains obligatory, which makes it difficult to plan the students’ working engagments with their employers and can pose a potential threat either to their jobs or their academic success.

Problems linked with the public-private status of the University  

It is important to highlight these comments as they relate to issues specific to public-private institutions as opposed to public institutions.

University employees emphasised the problem faced by the University during the academic year 2012/2013 when students at the University were not eligible to apply for state scholarships and subsidized accommodation in student housing facilities provided by the state, due to the fact that the University is private. The problem has been solved by now, yet it has placed the University and its students, especially those who already enrolled in their studies, in a unfairly disadvantaged position.

A system of tuition fees based (in reverse proportion) on weighted grade point average has been introduced at the Catholic University of Croatia in the academic year 2015/2016 and the participants addressed this issue as well. They believe the system to be unfair towards the students who are enrolling now (in comparison who enrolled in previous years, without such a system of tuition fees), whereby they have shown a student solidarity. They also pointed out that small differences in the achieved grade point average will result in huge differences in the tuition fees, which they consider demotivating in terms of the quality of studying and regard it as an additional obstacle for receiving financial support.  Nevertheless, some participants have expressed the opinion that the introduction of tuition fees is an educational feature intended to enhance responsibility, since they have currently noticed a number of students receiving education fully covered by the state, who are behaving irresponsibly towards their studies.

Recommendations for improvement 

The participants have pointed out the fact that this issue primarily needs to be addressed by the state and the relevant Ministry which need to ensure a higher amount of financial resources and additional opportunities. However, they do not believe it is realistic to expect that to happen in the foreseeable future against the backdrop of the adverse economic circumstances. Therefore a fair solution currently cannot be readily provided. Recommendations concerning the University are linked with improvement of the structure of lecture schedule or a reduction of the number of courses and colloquia, allowing more time for students to take up part-time jobs. Furthermore, lecture schedule should be more reliable, as little postponements as possible. Introduction of scholarships and student jobs at the University have been proposed.

Focus Group Report of The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

The research methodology

Dates and a manner of recruitment: recruitment of participants was carried out with individual and group invitations of students who participated in a survey held in March 2015.

Characteristics of recruited participants: the interviews of focus groups were conducted in three separate editions. In the first two of them, only undergraduate and graduate students have attended. In these cases, interviewed participants came only from Poland. Students from other countries and students with disabilities did not participate in focus group interviews. In the third session, discussants were only employees of different university units involved in broadly defined student affairs, providing a variety of services for them.

Procedure: the agenda of each meeting included an introductory phase during which the participants were acquainted with the rules of participation in the focus group interview and the purpose of the meetings – a clarification of the reasons underlying the results of analyses of data collected in the course of quantitative research. Particular attention was paid to the analysis of offered students’ support services, which on the basis of collected during the quantitative study reviews have been identified in the so-called “red zone areas” denoting issues of high importance and low satisfaction.

Focus interviews were intended to clarify the results obtained during the first phase of the WISE project – the survey fulfilled by a wide range of students. The results concerned the service areas which students assessed as important and simultaneously not satisfied with. The analysis of group interviews focuses on student support services, which are located in the so-called “red zone areas”. In the case of The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, these services referred to support in the entry and exit phases of the educational lifecycle. During the focus with university staff, some topics partly included in the “red zone areas” were added: services dedicated to international and disabled students care and housing. Apart from that, other issues were also mentioned and discussed e.g. sport.

After presenting the objectives of the studies, declarations of consent to participate in the study and record students’ statements were collected from all participants. The declarations was in written form – the participants signed previously prepared short statements.

A detailed agenda of the group interview was as follows:

• presentation of the principles of group interview and the role of moderator

• obtaining consent for participation in the study and making a recording

• presentation of participants indicating roles, experiences with an institutional support provided by university to students

• introduction to the interview and a determination of a purpose of the meeting, then gathering the opinions of participants on the reasons why the surveyed students delivered answers in certain ways. The addressed questions were:

  • o what in your opinion has an impact on the distribution frequency of use some of the provided services for students?
  • o what can be proposed to increase the use of support services by students in different areas?
  • o research shows the following order of precedence of issues: finance, leaving a university, initiating relationships with the university, housing, etc. why do you think students rates these services in that way? what underlies these assessments?
  • o what is your opinion on institutional support as a contributor to high satisfaction ratings? what else can you do on this matter? what are the tools of institutional support? do we need new ones?  what should be changed in the existing ones?
  • o what is the reason for the low satisfaction of students in different areas (students support services)?
  • o do you think these reviews are common, or rather there are wide differences of opinion among the students?
  • o what is the reason for the low rating of the validity of the different aspects?
  • o of particular interest are those areas that are also considered important and very satisfying for respondents. How would you improve the outcome in terms of increasing student satisfaction in these areas?
  • o what is the barrier that causes low satisfaction of tools related to the phase of leaving the university?
  • o why international students and those with a disability have evaluated low the services addressed to them by university?
  • o how much of these results would be similar in other academic centres in Poland, HEIs in your opinion?

• end of focus group interview, thanks to interviewed participants for the meeting and share with administrative staff (WISE project, P4) their opinions, ideas.

The interviews were held in December: a group of student 1 (10S – 7W, 3M) (December 9, 2015), a group of student 2 (10S – 7W, 3M) (December 10, 2015) and a group of employees (6E – 4W, 2M) (December 15, 2015).

The results

Students’ point of views

Exit phase

The most important issue for the interviewed students was an exit phase and provided students support services. This is due to the difficulty in finding a job after graduation and a high risk of unemployment of graduates. Students noticed a systemic problem based on the fact that “the university at the moment, at least I have the impression of it, focuses only on the level of education and does not provide services which really develops other skills e.g. how to benefit of this education” (S_5, GS2). One respondent described it as a need of not being “a newcomer” (S_5, GS2). According to the respondent, “students graduating should have to be prepared not only theoretically but also practically” (S_5, GS2). However, there were also recalled by students some opinions of lecturers who noticed that students neglected education for other non-university activities: “when I said that I cannot come to take a test with my study group, just will come to another, a lecturer said to me to think what is better for me – to ride with several empty wheelbarrows or with a full one” (S_2, GS1).

Separation of life at the university with an everyday life results in greater uncertainty when leaving the university: “because of that students do not know later what to do with the obtained level of education and it can be a big problem” (S_1, GS1). At the same time, they recognized as well the problem of lack of information on existing forms of support. One of the reasons is the difficulty of loading the university website on smart phones or similar smart electronic devices” (S_4, GS1). The web page is not a responsive one. Students emphasized that although objectively there are forms of students’ support services, the level of knowledge about the offers is negligible.

An example of this phenomenon is the Academic Career Office (ABK), which positive role in supporting students in the phase of exit is clear stated: “there are people who help write a resume, show, design a career path, describe your skills, explain what you need to do to participate in Erasmus + Programme etc.” (S_1, GS1 ). In the opinion of one of the women who enlisted the help of ABK office as good service: “from what I understand this career office offers a variety of internships or job offers. I have used their services and can highly recommend other to work with them. Workers are open-minded, willing to help” (S_8, GS2). Unfortunately, ABK is rarely visited by students: “approximately 50% of students do not know where ABK is located and what it provides to our university” (S_4, GS1). “We have such centre, ABK,  and the level of knowledge about it, its offers is very low” (S_1, GS1). In the opinion of another person, one can see that besides the lack of information also other obstacles appeared: “I’ve never been in ABK, I know that it is organized within a structure of university but I’ve never been interested in its services” (S_9, GS2).

Students pointed out the problems with finding ABK or even a lack of knowledge of its existence: “I know that some people do not even know of their existence” (S_9, GS2), a location in an inconspicuous place and difficult access to its services: “perhaps the main disadvantage is that their office is located in the building rarely visited by students and with a difficult access to it” (S_10, GS2). In addition to that, classes are held often at the same time when the ABK office hours, so there is the difficulty in finding time to participate in activities offered by the ABK. One of the respondents met with a negative reaction from an academic teacher for additional student involvement: “the problem is also that the teachers do not let us go during classes for the meetings with employees of ABK” (S_4, GS1).

According to the respondents, university authorities should change the way of work of ABK to be more offensive: “students do not know that they can benefit from their help, jobs offers or practices. Something appears to eKUL, but how many people use eKUL emails nowadays? Only a few. It would be good to find other forms of reaching out to students because, as the saying goes, you have to look for the office and their offers because the offers do not look for us” (S_9, GS2). Students proposed to increase the accessibility of information by: 1) using computer tools: “the reason why students do not know about ABK may be obsolete forms of promotion. More and more information can be found on social networking web sites such as Facebook” (S_10, SG2), and “now we are used to that if we need something to find, we reach for the mobile phone and we get it” (S_1, GS1), 2) inviting employees of the office on lectures: “I think that it would be good if workers from ABK would come to classes/lectures for 45 mins and present their offers, especially that they are willing to do it” (S_4, GS1), 3) organization indicative classes (what?, where?, when?) for students at the beginning of the study: “I think a good solution would be organizing training at the beginning of the study within the university structure, which will show what, where and how to deal with” (S_6, GS1). It also appeared an idea that “the ideal solution would be meeting with the employees of the office at a certain time” (S_10, GS2); “it would be good to increase the visibility of office: definitely it should be more exposed. Perhaps, it would be better if the office was located in the Knowledge Transfer Centre or the Main Building, where students are passing or having their classes” (S_8, GS2).

According to the respondents, ABK workshops (e.g. students on the labour market) would also be useful in the exit phase: “Another advantage would be a free workshop, where students could see and learn some useful practical skills, e.g. job interviews, how to write a CV or on what skills students should pay attention to develop during studies” (S_6, GS2).

Students recognized the importance of assisting in finding places to organize practices, internships included in the program of study: “the person responsible for the practice does not have information where we could do the practice” (S_4, GS1), they “direct students for practices to institutions which are unwilling to accept students for practice” (S_7, GS1). Students suggested that “the university should initiate a permanent cooperation with Polish and foreign companies” (S_4, GS2). Enrichment education on practical experience is also possible to work in parallel with studies. In this regard, the following statement appeared: “students in later years of study start the job and it would be a great help if they had no problem with setting a course with working hours” (S_3, GS2). This indicates a wider opportunities to support students not only through a social, financial support.

Another issue raised by the students, as part of the student support at the exit phase, was a matter of enrichment of acquired education during their studies in the context of post-graduate education: “our university has the most expensive post-graduate studies” (S_4, GS1). Another difficulty is an organizational barrier posed by additional activity: “I also had a problem with the date of the commencement of studies, because the recruitment was postponed” (S_7, GS1). Students postulated enabling them to take this type of study parallel to their current course which they are completing and also they would like to get financial help: “they should give at least 5% discount for students of KUL, as other universities do” (S_4, GS1).

Support in entry phase

According to the students taking part in a focus group the main difficulty in entry phase is the necessity to become self-reliant: “they have to do everything by themselves” (S_1, GS2). It is connected with a lack of good orientation in a new situation: “students often do not know what kind of help they can get (…) Just after the first year, they familiarize themselves with the proposed university offers” (S_4, GS2). Sometimes, searching for the needed information among workers does not give any results: “I met with this situation when student of the first year had a problem and was sent back from door to door. There is no person who wants to take responsibility and says what you need to do in a particular situation and it is very important especially at the beginning of the study” (S_4, GS1).

Respondents indicated that the difficulty is also in orientation in the new place: “knowing the structure of the university by students of the first year is a challenge. I remember that at the beginning of October the groups of students were looking for rooms and buildings where they were supposed to have classes” (S_8, GS2).

Among the ways to deal with the entry phase, interviewed students emphasized the role of the KUL Student Government: “it would have a big influence here, the Student Government of KUL could organize (…) meetings with KUL administrative staff. It would help to understand the university structure and certainly raise the level of student motivation to develop themselves” (S_4, GS2). Respondents found very important the roles of the governors of the year, who should be prepared to provide assistance to students in the orientation and finding help: “also, the role of the governor of Student Government here is very important. Often these people are responsible for the settlement of issues concerning the whole year. If someone has a problem she/he returns to the governor” (S_7, GS2). Or other statement: “that all things should not be directed straight to the dean’s office, first I could talk to the governor, who is my friend, we have a better contact and he knows what I can do, where I can go, and it does not require such reorganization” (S_7, GS1). Because some years of students are numerous, students paid attention, that “it depends on how many students are on the year, e.g. on my year there are 20 students and I can handle with these people, I go to the dean’s office where the workers know me and there is no problem to settle something, but if I had 180 people it would be a problem for me. But it can be divided into groups and these groups could choose their representatives. This means the queues to the dean’s office but it could be organized” (S_7, GS1).

Personnel of the University point of view

One of the first statements received from workers on services supporting the students issue was opinion that “it is also possible that the tools we use, and which we still use are outdated, have many defects and using them is time-consuming, so we have to replaced them with the new ones that are much better or more effective” (P2_K). The statements met with non-verbal approval of the other participants, which indicates the understanding of the need to search for new forms of institutional help for students.

Exit phase

According to the staff, students are responsible for the low satisfaction with support at the exit phase. In opinion of one of the participants, students do not look for support because a large percentage of the students think that “I will graduate and then I will find work” (P2_K). They come too late asking for help and there is no time to get it. Students who ask for help in this phase are mostly sent to ABK: “We direct students to the office” (P2_K). This specialized department is supposed to provide help for students. However, ABK encounters a major obstacle – the lack of available information that has already been taken into account while describing students’ opinions: “its (ABK) activity is poorly disseminated, and it should be more widespread that ABK really helps. Office should show that thanks to it the student can find a job. Office workers by the means of communication should direct graduates and show that they can really help. And I have not heard that there was some information that the student after visit there found a job. This can block people they do not know about this office” (P4_K).

Therefore, employees indicate the need for a greater presence of ABK in Social Media: “today is the Internet era, everything should be on the Internet. On Facebook or anywhere. There are many different applications” (P2_K). ABK should, in their opinion, reach out to the students through this channel more actively.

Moreover, the employees believed that increasing student satisfaction in the exit phase can serve better preparing students for taking a job: “they need to make a mandatory training or organize the meeting, presentations, as they make safety courses that is available on the eKUL internal platform. It may be a training which takes into account the soft skills. The fourth, fifth year of student should have such classes” (P5_K). It is only proposal of new tools to support students that emerged during the meetings of focus groups.


Employees participating in the focus group indicated that the lack of student satisfaction with services related to the accommodation is caused by too modest offer of the university. It concerns many aspects of the offer. The offer does not meet the needs: “the hall of residence cannot provide the accommodation for everyone interested. There are more interested than the hall of residence can provide” (P4_K). The current offer does not meet the students’ expectations. Students often ask about the number of roommates. The offer mostly provides triple rooms. In addition to above, students also expect additional equipment that allows for recreation. “Students would like to have gyms. We do not have such facilities” (P5_K). The lack of comprehensive offer is also a problem. Respondents pointed to the lack of canteen. “It is far from the hall of residence and the access is quite difficult” (P3_5).

These inconveniences of offer make student rent a private flat. “It is preferable to rent a whole flat without landlords” (P1_M). Disadvantage of this solution is the lack of lease agreements with owners and the risk of being cheated: “many student do not have lease agreements with landlords” (P2_K). “I know from my own experience that in the announcement everything can be written, but on the Internet there is something called “black list of apartments” and there you can find the addresses, room descriptions, e-mail names of people, who rented the room and she/he recommends or discourages renting this room” (P1_M).

In this situation, the university offers students a list of good lodgings. “On KUL website and e-KUL, there is a list of good lodgings with a lot of ads” (P3_W). Despite that, some students have problems with house owners.

Services directed to international students

Problems with the support for international students depend on their countries of origin. Students from very distant countries like Nigeria have difficulties with cultural differences, e.g. cooking: “the problem is that foreign students represent a different culture, they need a separate room, annexe, kitchen to prepare special meals” (P1_M). However, this is a small group. Most of the international students are residents of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. In their case, difficulties are related to differences in educational systems and legal requirements. The problems are the issue of social security and resident registration: “yes, they have problems with check-in temporarily, because only an adult can be registered. The similar problem is with health insurance. They cannot be insured in the National Health Fund, because some of them are underage. Despite this fact, they have a student status. So, they need to purchase an insurance in private companies” (P1_M).

Employees pointed out that “foreign students expect service in English. Therefore, the university arranges English courses for employees, e.g. for dean’s office workers” (P1_M). That improves the quality of study but it is not a direct help for foreigners. During the interview, there weren’t other ideas.

Services directed to disabled students

Employees are well aware of many difficulties of disabled students. “Most of this students have problems with mobility, ramps and lifts. Among other things, lifts in dormitories are opened manually and a person on a wheelchair has a serious problem with it. Also, buttons inside a lift are placed too high” (P5_W). “These barriers have been gradually removed. Currently, we implement a project, which aims to adapt the building complex for the disabled. So far, in the Main Building, doors have been replaced with automatic ones. Moreover, for a very long time, we fought for lift at courtyard. Unfortunately, the conservator didn’t agree for that. Now, we managed to prepare such project. In the future, we want to take care of female dormitory at Poczekajka Street. There are some rooms adapted for people with disabilities, but we should do much more” (P6_M). Generally, the disabled students are treated differently, they have special social assistance, because they are in more difficult situation from the beginning.

Furthermore, employees mentioned additional forms of assistance in the exit phase: “we cooperate with many entrepreneurs and we observe the situation of students with disabilities when they finish studies and enter the labour market. If we get job offers from employers, we put them in direct contact with students. Thanks to that, a lot of our students find employment. Also, we are in contact with local government, e.g. The Lubelskie Province Governor’s Office. Some of our graduates work there” (P6_M). It seems to be a very important element of support in this group of students.


Employees of the university are open to new ways of students’ support. During the interview, they presented different problems and suggested changes.

Entry phase

  • • the university should make better use of existing methods, e.g. governors of years and a contact with employees (Dean’s Office, secretary offices etc.)
  • • respondents proposed a new solution – one place, office for all students’ matters
  • • students’ government should take part in support for first-year students. They could arrange meetings with university workers from different offices.

Exit phase

  • • there are several barriers which are independent of the university like economic situation, mentality of employers, legal requirements
  • • respondents didn’t suggest many new forms of support in the exit phase, but they stressed the need of making improvements in methods which are available
  • • information flow should be improved. Small satisfaction in this point is caused by ignorance of possibilities and a sense of lack of support. It seems to be a good option to relocate the ABK office in more visible place
  • • the best way to improve situation is to use new media and information technology. Thanks to that, information about the offers would be accessible for all potential recipients
  • • a good idea is to increase the flexibility of timetables. Students should have opportunity to combine studies, self-development and work
  • • one of the suggestion was to create a new tutorial to prepare students to enter to the labour market as compulsory course for final-year students.


  • • the university should redecorate available rooms, prepare new places in dormitories, develop room standards and offer more services (e.g. board, recreation)
  • • unfortunately, respondents didn’t find solution for students who rent a room and have problems with house owners.

Special categories of students

  • • university workers should work on their language skills in order to better communication with foreign students. It’s possible, because the university offers free English courses for chosen office workers
  • • it is a good idea to give all students chance to maintain their religions as well as culinary traditions
  • • the university should pay attention to individual assistance for students with disabilities in the exit phase
  • • it is very important to gradually eliminate architectural barriers for disabled students.

First and Second step literature

A) European documents

  1. 1. An EU Strategy for Youth. P7_TA(2010) 0166. European Parliament resolution of 18 May 2010 on ‘An EU Strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering’ (2009/2159(INI)). 2011/C 161 E/04). Downloaded on, on 16th July 2015.
  2. 2. Bergen Communique (2005), The European Higher Education Area – Achieving the Goals Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005. Downloaded  on, on 16th July 2015.
  3. 3. European Commission, EACEA ,(2011), Modernisation of higher education in Europe. Funding and the social dimension. Brussels: Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.
  4. 4. Key issues for the European Higher Education Area– Social Dimension and Mobility. Report from the Bologna Process Working Group on Social Dimension and Data on Mobility of Staff and Students in Participating Countries. The Ministry of Education and Research, Edita: 2007.
  5. 5. Working Group On Social Dimension And Data On Mobility Of Staff And Students (WG) (2005), Progress Report for the BFUG 12-13 October. Downloaded on–PVV3iWjgzAQrZP0Aw&bvm=bv.97949915,d.d24, on 16th July 2015.

B) Publications

  1. 1. Alzamel, S. (2014), Factors that Influence Student Satisfaction with International Programs in Institutions of Higher Learning: A Proposed Case Study of University of Dayton, International Journal of Global Business, 7 (1), 2014, 15-24. 
  2. 2. Asgary, M., Borzooei, M. (2014), Effects of service quality and price on satisaction and the consequent learning outcomes of international students, International Journal of Information, Buisness and Management, 6 (3), 2014, 132- 145.
  3. 3. Aldemir. C. and Gülcan, Y. (2004). Student satisfaction in higher education: A Turkish case, Higher Education Management and Policy, 16, 109-122.
  4. 4. Archambault, L. Z. (2008), Measuring Service Performance, Student satisfaction and its impact on student retention in private, post-secondary institutions, Proceedings of the EDU-COM 2008 International Conference. Sustainability in Higher Education: Directions for Change, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 19-21 November 2008, 32-45.
  5. 5. Băcilă, M. F. Et al. (2014), Development of an Instrument for Measuring Student Satisfaction, Business Educational Institutions XVI (37), 841-856.
  6. 6. Chavay, P. (2013), Perceived Social Support among International Students at a U.S. University, Psychological Reports: Sociocultural Issues in Psychology, 112 (2), 667-677.
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