University students more satisfied over last decade says new study

Guy Bentley
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UK university students have become increasingly satisfied with their experience of higher education over the last decade, according to a study conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Student satisfaction with "assessment and feedback" climbed 12 percentage points between 2005 and 2013, while overall satisfaction rose five percentage points to 85 per cent.

The HEFCE reached the figures through analysing the National Student Survey of over 2m UK students in their final year at university.

While students reported being happier with "academic support" there was variation between subjects, as well as the demographic make-up of the student body.

Veterinary sciences, physical sciences and maths came out with stellar approval ratings. The research also suggested that black African students were more satisfied than their white peers but black Caribbean students were less satisfied.

The study included students registered at English, Welsh and Northern Irish universities that receive no funding from the NHS.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills commented: "We welcome this research on the NSS, which shows that students have become more satisfied with their higher education experience".

The UK is second only to the US in its number of world-class universities – each a magnet for global talent and high-tech expertise. Despite reform of the tuition fees system it is widely argued that a UK university education still represents a good deal for students.

Male university graduates can expect to boost their lifetime earnings by £165,000, and women by £250,000. It has been reported that the Labour party will enter the next election promising a cut in tuition fees that could cost universities £1.7bn per year.