Eighty-five per cent of all UK students are satisfied with their overall university experience, according to around 304,000 final-year students who responded to the annual survey this year.
However, Bath topped the list of higher education institutions once small, specialist and further education colleges were excluded, with an overall satisfaction rate of 94 per cent.
That was narrowly ahead of a group of institutions on 93 per cent, including the universities of Buckingham, East Anglia, Essex, Keele and St Andrews, which are all campus universities.
The Institute of Education, University of London is the highest ranked specialist higher education institution in this year’s survey, with an overall satisfaction score of 97 per cent.
Several higher education institutions in London again performed below the sector average, including London Metropolitan University (72 per cent), University of the Arts London (74 per cent), Courtald Institute of Art (76 per cent) and the University of East London (79 per cent).
However, overall satisfaction rates remain at an all-time high, matching last year’s overall satisfaction rate of 85 per cent.
Teaching was rated even higher with an 86 per cent satisfaction rating (the same as 2012).
Overall satisfaction scores for the level of academic support increased by a single percentage point to 80 per cent this year, as did scores for organisation and management (up to 78 per cent) and personal development (up to 82 per cent).
Student satisfaction scores from assessment and feedback – a persistent area of complaint in previous surveys – also increased by two percentage points this year, rising to 72 per cent.
“These strong results continue to demonstrate the high-quality student experience provided by universities and colleges in the UK,” said Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, who insisted the NSS provided “crucial information which…informs student choices but also [drives] improvements in learning and teaching across the sector”.
“However, institutions must continue to enhance what they offer and, respond effectively to the diverse needs of their students,” he said.
For the second time, student unions were also assessed by undergraduates, with overall satisfaction scores rising a single point to 67 per cent.
Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, who is also chair of the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, said she was pleased to see more students participating in the NSS – with a response rate of 68.6 per cent, the highest rate in the nine years that it has been running.
“The National Student Survey has great value as both a reliable source of information for applicants about individual courses and as a touchstone for the benefits of continuing investment in the student experience,” said Professor Beer.
“It is particularly pleasing to see the increase in the numbers of students participating in the survey and that the improvements in the areas of assessment, feedback and learning resources are being maintained,” she added.
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