Student satisfaction high despite tuition fee rises

The satisfaction rate for students studying at UK higher education institutions and further education colleges remains high, despite the tripling of tuition fee rates, with 86% saying they are satisfied overall with their course in this year's National Student Survey.

A further 7% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their higher education 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, with a 1% rise in those satisfied in each category. These cover: assessment and feedback (73% satisfied), academic support (82%), organisation and management (79%), learning resources (86%) and personal development (83%).

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ body, said the survey shows that student satisfaction rates remain at record levels.

“These figures are particularly significant given that they include final-year students in England who started courses in 2012 under the new £9,000 [US$14,000] 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 than 300,000 final-year students responded to the survey this year, from 155 higher education institutions, 190 further education colleges and five private higher education providers from across the UK. This represents a response rate of 71%, the same as last year.

According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, or HEFCE, the results of the survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of UK funding bodies, provide valuable information for prospective students and help universities and colleges to further improve the education they provide.

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.”