86% 'happy with university course'
The number of students who are satisfied with their degree has hit a record high, although thousands still say they are not happy with the overall quality of their course, according to new research.
It reveals the vast majority of undergraduates are content with the teaching and learning resources on their course, but less happy with the assessment and feedback they receive.
Undergraduates at Bath University, Keele University, St Andrews University and St Mary's University College are among the happiest with their degree, according to the latest annual National Student Survey (NSS).
The poll questioned around 321,000 final-year students at 156 universities, 166 colleges and three private institutions about every aspect of their university experience, including teaching, assessment, support and organisation.
Overall, 86% said that they were satisfied with their course - the highest percentage for 10 years.
But around 7% said they were dissatisfied, and a further 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
Around 93% of students taught at Bath, Keele, St Andrews and St Mary's University College, part of Queen's University of Belfast said they were satisfied with the quality of their degree, along with 100% at Courtauld Institute of Art and 96% at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
At the other end of the scale, Ravensbourne, a specialist design and communication college had the lowest satisfaction rate among the universities alone at 68%.
Among the further education colleges Redcar and Cleveland College had the highest satisfaction rate at 100%, followed by Ashton-Under-Lyne sixth-form college and City of Bath college, both at 98%.
A breakdown of the results shows that 87% were satisfied with the teaching on their course, up from 86% last year, 72% were happy with assessment and feedback, 81% were satisfied with the academic support they received, 78% were satisfied with organisation and management, 85% were happy with the learning resources and 82% were happy with personal development.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Agency for England (HEFCE), which publishes the survey, said: 'I'm delighted to see record levels of student satisfaction this year, as well as marked improvements in satisfaction with assessment and feedback over the last decade.
"The NSS is the largest survey of its kind in the UK. Over the last 10 years it has helped over two million students to make their voices heard about the things that matter to them, and has been fundamental to driving change in our universities and colleges.
"In a period of technological advance, internationalisation and funding reforms, the NSS will continue to enable students' views to be heard and to stimulate innovation and excellence in teaching and learning in our universities and colleges."
Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, vice-chancellor at Bath University, said: "To have once again been ranked by our students as number one is wonderful news and shows the sustained effectiveness of the partnership between our students and our staff.
"The all-round experience we seek to provide at Bath is clearly something which our students appreciate very highly and the whole university community must be congratulated on what is an outstanding achievement."
St Andrews vice-principal and proctor, Professor Lorna Milne, said: "If St Andrews students are among the most satisfied in the country, it's really down to two things: our superb staff, who work very hard to provide the best education they possibly can; and the students themselves, who clearly appreciate being challenged to achieve excellent results. I'm delighted that they have rated their University so highly once again."
Universities Minister Greg Clark said: "It is great to see student satisfaction rates with their university experience are continuing to rise. It is vital that higher education institutions further enhance teaching quality and improve the experience they offer to students."
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "It is great news to see student satisfaction rates at record levels. It shows that universities across the UK are responding to student feedback and working hard to improve the academic experience.
"This level of satisfaction achieved at universities would be the envy of many other sectors and organisations. However, universities are not complacent and will continue to respond to students' increasingly high expectations."