Majority of undergraduates 'happy with degree course'


The number of students who are satisfied with their degree course remains high, according to new research.

Some 86% of undergraduates are happy with their course, according to the latest annual National Student Survey (NSS).

The highest satisfaction rate in higher education institutions in the UK was at St Mary's University College in Northern Ireland (96%), closely followed by the University of Keele, Hull and York Medical School and the independent University of Buckingham (all 95%).

The poll questioned more than 300,000 final-year students at 156 higher education institutions, 190 further education colleges and five private institutions about every aspect of their educational experience.

The 86% who were satisfied with their course matched last year's figure, which was the highest for 10 years.

Around 7% said they were dissatisfied, and a further 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Among the further education colleges several had satisfaction rates of 100%. These were Bournville College, Central Bedfordshire College, Eastleigh College, Kendal College, Kensington and Chelsea College, Leeds College of Building, South Devon College and West Herts College of Further Education.

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 improve further the education they provide.

Professor Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (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 advisers in helping choose which higher education institution to select."

Of those students studying in England, around a third were under the old regime before the introduction of £9,000 tuition fees.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "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.

"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."

HEFCE has said it will carry out further analysis to see whether there was any difference in satisfaction between those paying lower and higher rates of tuition fees.