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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
'Most students' happy with course
Most students found their courses intellectually stimulating
Four fifths of university students across the UK are happy with their courses, a survey suggests.

According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), the Open University had the highest satisfaction rate, with 95%.

It was followed by Buckingham (94%) and St Andrews (92%). The lowest university ratings were 67% for Thames Valley and 68% for Lincoln.

Some 157,000 final-year students took part in the survey.

The overall satisfaction rate, 80%, is the same as last year.

Response rate

Scottish higher education did best, with 85% of students happy with their courses.

For Wales and Northern Ireland it was 83%, while for England it was 80%.


England's Higher Education Minister, Bill Rammell, said: "The survey is a powerful tool for student empowerment and institutional improvement."

He added: "Academics up and down the country pore over these results to see how they are performing and how what they are offering can be improved."

Some not happy

The National Student Survey - being carried out this year for only the second time - was completed by 56% of final-year students in the UK, on both full-time and part-time courses.

Overall, 30% definitely agreed and 50% mostly agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of the education they had received.

One in 10 said they were not happy.

Some 81% of students told Hefce their course had been "intellectually stimulating".

I think it's fair to say Oxford and Cambridge have warmed towards it this year
Prof Michael Arthur
Survey co-ordinator

But two-fifths were not satisfied with the assessment and feedback they had received.

Oxford, Cambridge and Warwick are, for the second year in a row, not among the institutions listed, as less than half of their students took part.

The student unions at each have opposed the research as being too intrusive.

Professor Michael Arthur, vice-chancellor of Leeds University, who oversaw the survey, said he was hopeful they would become more involved next year.

He added: "I think it's fair to say Oxford and Cambridge have warmed towards it this year."

The vice-president of the National Union of Students, Wes Streeting, said these universities had to be more "proactive".

He added: "It is regrettable that institutions that can seem shrouded with tradition do not take part.

"The days of relying on the old school tie and secret handshakes are long gone and they need to show that."

Other universities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool John Moores, have dropped out of the list after falling below a 50% participation rate.

For the UK overall, it declined from 60% to 56%.

Prof Arthur said this was because students were only telephoned up to eight times each, whereas last year it had been 15.

Student tuition fees in England and Northern Ireland are rising to a maximum of 3,000 a year this autumn.

Prof Arthur said the survey could eventually be expanded to include a "value for money" rating.

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