Nearly half of students would describe themselves as customers of their university, new research suggests.
Some 47% of undergraduates said they believed they are a way for their university to benefit financially, according to survey conducted for Universities UK..
By contrast, only 18% said they would regard themselves as a customer of their secondary school.
According to the ComRes survey, 80% of students said personalised advice and support are among the top things they desire from their university.
Meanwhile, 91% of students who said their course is good value for money also said they value their relationship with their university.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "What is clear from this survey is that students want a personal relationship with their university, rather than the type of engagement they associate with being a 'customer'."
"Following the shift to fees and loans-based funding, value for money has become a high-profile issue in higher education.
"The research shows that students view their relationship with their university as unique, they value a personalised and collaborative relationship, rather than a superficial consumer transaction."
Ms Dandridge added that although students have clear expectations of their university, "they also expect to shape their own experience".