Student satisfaction of the University of York students’ union (YUSU) has been ranked at 61 per cent compared to 88 per cent for the University, according to this year’s National Student Survey (NSS).
Nationally, YUSU is ranked 79th, whereas the University is placed 37th in the country. The average satisfaction rate for students’ unions is 66 per cent.
This is the first year in which satisfaction for students’ unions across the country has been collected in the NSS. The NSS is a survey taken by final year undergraduates each year who provide feedback on their courses, satisfaction, academic support, as well as students’ union experience.
In YUSU’s own 2011 student satisfaction survey, just over 45 per cent of students said that their students’ union was making a positive impact on their life as a student. However, Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, disputed the validity of the NSS score.
Taylor said, “Whilst we certainly recognise that YUSU can up its game in certain areas, question 23 [asking about students’ union satisfaction] doesn’t paint the truest of pictures on student satisfaction with the Union.
“It’s pretty laughable to ask 22 questions on a university’s impact on students’ experiences, and then compare all of that data to just the one question chucked in right at the end of the survey. 61 per cent doesn’t do us justice, and we’ll be looking to prove that this year.”
The students’ unions who satisfied their students the most and provided the best experience were the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University and the University of Leeds.
Oxford University’s students’ union was ranked as the second worst in the country with a satisfaction rate of just 39 per cent. Cambridge and Durham’s students’ unions also performed badly, scoring 46 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.
Other students’ unions that scored 61 per cent as well as YUSU included those of Anglia Ruskin University and the Royal Holloway.
The connection was made by Taylor that universities with collegiate systems performed badly, “likely down to confusion on representation and a duplication of services.”
But although the figure was questioned by YUSU, there are plans to improve the experience that students receive from their students’ union.
Taylor added: “We’re looking to do a lot more now to involve off-campus students in our work, and really trying to make YUSU become approachable, rather than something exclusively for the usual suspects.”