NSS: Student satisfaction remains high

This year’s National Student Survey shows 86% of students satisfied with their course

The satisfaction rate for students studying at UK higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs) remains high with 86% saying they are satisfied overall with their course in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS).

A further 7% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their HE experience; and only 7% were dissatisfied (5%) or strongly dissatisfied (2%).

Satisfaction has improved since 2014 in five out of six of the groups of questions covered by the survey, these cover: assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources and personal development.

The most highly rated university in this year’s NSS, excluding small and specialist institutions, was Keele University, which scored 95% overall, up two percentage points. The universities of Essex, East Anglia and Surrey all scored 92%.

Professor Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said: “The survey provides detailed and robust data which is used extensively by universities and colleges to improve the quality of their teaching and learning. It is also valuable in supporting prospective students and their parents and advisors in helping choose which higher education institution to select.”

More than 300,000 final-year students responded to the survey this year, from 155 HEIs, 190 FECs and five private HE providers from across the UK.

Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said: ‘It is positive to see high levels of student satisfaction being maintained within UK higher education. This shows that the sector is working hard to deliver a quality experience for students who are, quite rightly, keen to ensure they get the most out of their time at university. 

‘It is especially true at Alliance universities where we are committed to providing the excellent teaching critical to creating the world’s future leaders and problem solvers. This year’s NSS results show we have on average increased our student satisfaction levels, outperforming the sector average by two percent.’ 

Responding to the results, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “It is very good that student satisfaction rates remain at record levels. It is testament to the hard work of university staff. Universities are responding to student feedback and seeking to improve the teaching and learning experience.

“These figures are particularly significant given that they include final-year students in England who started courses in 2012 under the new £9,000 tuition fee regime. The shift in England from public funding to increased fees means that students are understandably, and rightly, demanding more from their university courses. Universities are responding to this and are also improving the amount of information to students about courses to ensure that their experience matches their expectations.”

More detailed data is available through the HEFCE website.

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