UK Culture: What's a University Education Worth?

Every year, it costs British students more and more to attend university. Students are graduating with larger and larger debts. So is a university degree really worth it?

Do the Preparation task first. Then listen to the audio. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.

Task 1

Decide if the statements are true or false.


Task 2

Complete the sentences using vocabulary from the preparation activity.




Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Hi "British Council team", don't get me wrong but I'd like to ask a phrase, which I don't understand exactly... just I suspect what it means. And I didn't find any forum where I could ask you for any grammatical help. Well... the next sentence is from a medical text:
The theory that education protects against Alzheimer's disease has been given further weight by new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the European Union.
My question is: .... "has been given further weight".... expression. Could you help me to understand it exactly? Thank you very much. Best regards. :)

Hello Passion Flower,

'weight' can mean 'influence' and that it is how it used here. You could re-phrase it as 'The theory has been given further support by new research ...'

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your quick reply, Kirk. It's absolutely clear now... with your word "support" I understand the sentence.
Kind regards,
Passion Flower

My question is about using 'else' after WH word 'what'... like we say, "What else can I do?"
does it mean that 'I have done one thing for you, now why do you want me to do some other things too?' OR does it mean 'I have done many things for you, now why do you want me to do more things?'

Hello Zeeshan Siddiquii,

'else' just means 'other thing' in this case. It's not clear whether the person has done just one thing or many things previously -- the word 'else' doesn't indicate how many. It also doesn't necessarily imply impatience, though it certainly can.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

As in many countries, in Hungary, as well there are two opportunities after having taken the final exam in the high school. If your scores are high enough, you can apply for a university (e.g. in Budapest, in Pécs, in Debrecen, in Szeged) and study there 5 or 6 years long. If you are gotten into a college or university based on your high school scores and a good entrance exam, you don't need to pay any tuition fees. (However it's not totally true, 'cause there are some additional costs in a bigger city to live, of course.) And the other opportunity is, if you aren't be gotten into a public education, you can apply for a college where you have to finance yourself. (It's a pretty expensive... but if you or your parents can afford it, then it can be a solution, as well.)

I'm in China. Luckily, I didn't feel any pressure when I was enrolled at university. I should thank my parents. They always make me feel protected, so I don't have to worry about the fees or loans. Some student, however, are not as lucky as I was. BUT! Our country has been trying its best to help those students. Competition is always there, regardless of whether there are loans or fees or anything. I think we should not blame the policy too much. Instead, we should focus on what we are doing and do it better.

In Belgium, students have to pay a tuition fee of about 850 euros and that's it. In addition, they must pay for their books and sometimes for accommodation when university is far from their home. But compared to the UK or the USA, it is affordable. So it's not compulsory for students to work in order to pay their studies unless their parents can't afford it by themselves.

It's the same thing in France like in Belgium. Universities are almost free : you only have to pay for health insurance. But there are also private and expensive Schools, and students need to get a loan for enrolling. French students are luckier than british , but they are not always aware of it !

Interesting how students have problems completing studies,
Why don't Parents support children until they are graduate and earning, secondly if British students don't get enough higher education easily it will distract others for study for higher education and simply doing other low paying jobs. In the long run British will be less skilled and others will be more knowledgeable and skilled May be