Universities fail to improve student satisfaction levels

Updated

A National Student Survey report has shown that universities have failed to improve student satisfaction levels since tuition fees almost trebled in 2006.

The report, which examines satisfaction in areas such as academic support and assessment and feedback, found that fewer students were satisfied with their experience than before the 2006 fee increase.

Aaron Porter, NUS President, commented: “They [universities] must buck up their ideas and do far more to improve the experience they offer students. Currently, 33 per cent of students are not satisfied with the assessment and feedback service provided by their university.”

Despite lower levels of contentment, an average student’s ‘debt per year’ has increased by 71 per cent. In 2006, an average University of York student could expect to be in £1,985 of debt per year, whilst a current York student will be in around £3,395 debt per year of study.

Satisfaction levels on ‘assessment and feedback’ stand at just 67 per cent, ‘organisation and management’ at 73 per cent and academic support at 75 per cent.

87 per cent of registered University of York students answered ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ to: ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course.’ 86 per cent of taught students answered positively to the statement. This is a decrease of 1 per cent from last year’s results.

In response to the statistics, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, Professor Trevor Sheldon, said: “The NSS delivers invaluable first-hand information from students about their learning experience at York and it informs our continuous efforts to improve it. Our results show a pleasing upward trend with significant improvements in a number of areas, and reflect well on the skill and dedication of our staff.”

Porter continued: “This year’s National Student Survey is a wake up call to University vice-chancellors. They must buck up their ideas and do far more to improve the experience they offer students.‪

“Whilst it is pleasing to see that most students remain satisfied overall with their university experience, a significant proportion of students indicated that they were not satisfied with assessment and feedback, organisation and management or the academic support they received. It is clear that there is much room for improvement.”

It was also revealed as part of the survey that thousands of university students still find their lecturers too remote. The figures that show how 82 per cent are satisfied with their course also show that the figure dips to 67 per cent when it comes to assessment of work and the feedback from lecturers.

David Willetts, Universities secretary, added that the survey “reflects real and persistent concerns over the feedback given on students’ work and I hope the sector will address that”.

The privately-run University of Buckingham tops the table with a 95 per cent rating. York came 43rd in the table.

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