The results of this year’s National Student Survey, the last in its current format, show a high level of satisfaction among students studying at UK higher education institutions (HEIs), further education colleges (FECs) and alternative providers, with 86% saying they are satisfied overall with their course.
A further 7% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their higher education experience; and the remaining 7% were dissatisfied.
The response rate to the 2016 survey is 72%, slightly higher than the previous two years: 10,000 more final year students responded, which takes the total number to around 312,000. The survey was undertaken by students across the UK from 155 HEIs, 190 FECs and 13 alternative providers of higher education.
The number of alternative providers opting to take part in the survey this year has increased. Many more will take part in the next year’s survey, as it changes from being a voluntary to compulsory requirement in 2017.
The ‘assessment and feedback group of questions saw a small increase in satisfaction, with 74% of students answering strongly agree or mostly agree, up from 73% in 2015.
The response rate is very encouraging and ensures that the student voice continues to inform enhancements in quality and in the information available to the next cohort of students – HEFCE CE Prof Madeleine Atkins
HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, commented: “I’m pleased to see that the results of this year’s survey remain very positive, demonstrating the commitment of all higher education providers to deliver high quality teaching and learning for their students. The response rate is very encouraging and ensures that the student voice continues to inform enhancements in quality and in the information available to the next cohort of students.
“The increase in the number of alternative providers taking part in the survey on a voluntary basis for this year is a reflection of how important the survey is to the sector and highlights the increasing diversity of higher education in the UK.”
2016 marks the last year that the NSS will run in its current format, as a new survey will be launched in 2017. Following an extensive consultation process, the survey will include new and revised questions along with a new tech-friendly online and mobile interface.
Director General of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt added: “It is rewarding to see that once again students at Russell Group universities show higher than average levels of overall satisfaction with the quality of their course.
“Our universities are committed to taking students’ views and needs very seriously and to providing an outstanding student experience where teaching is enhanced by world-class research and facilities.
“But we are always looking at ways to make the student experience even better. Our universities continue to invest millions of pounds in improving the teaching, facilities and services available to our students.
“While these results can help prospective students make good choices it is important to remember that data can have its limitations. We urge students to read up on courses and information available online, go to open days and talk to careers advisers and others to find out which degree course will suit them.”
David Corke, Director of Education Policy at the Association of Colleges (AoC), added: “The further education colleges that provide higher education work very hard to ensure they are providing a quality service to their students and the local community and it is gratifying to see that students themselves say they are pleased with the education they receive.
“Colleges specialise in providing technical and professional alternatives to the three year residential degree. They enable students to study closer to home with lower tuition fees, often with smaller class sizes enabling more individual tuition.”
Image credit: University of Law