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The 2021 National Student Survey (NSS), published today, shows Scottish universities leading the rest of the UK nations in overall student satisfaction.

Almost 80 per cent of final year undergraduates surveyed were satisfied with the quality of their course compared with a UK average of just over 75 per cent.

The University of St Andrews remains the top non-specialist institution in the UK for student satisfaction and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) recorded the largest increase in student satisfaction north of the Border with a rise of over 4 percentage points.

The National Student Survey is the largest and longest-running annual survey of UK students and is historically based on answers to 27 questions. For the 2021 survey, six additional questions were added to gauge the impact of the pandemic on students’ experiences.

In each of the UK nations, the overall satisfaction level was less than last year. According to the survey’s publishers, the most likely explanation for this is the pandemic. They also identified a connection between overall satisfaction and students’ opinion on how well learning and teaching had been delivered during lockdowns.

One of the six additional COVID-related questions was asked about mental health, where the UK average for students agreeing their provider had taken sufficient steps to help them was 42 per cent. The figure in Scotland was slightly lower at 39 per cent.
James Dunphy, Director of Access, Learning and Outcomes at the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“In the Scottish Funding Council’s recent review of tertiary education we set out an ambition for students to have their voice heard and valued, and to be able to influence their educational experience.

“The National Student Survey is one way in which we can tune into that student voice, and it’s encouraging to see Scotland performing well against the backdrop of the difficult pandemic experience. Today’s results also provide universities with areas for improvement and I know they will work, together with student bodies, to ensure plans are in place to act on the findings and further enhance the student experience.”

Read the full results of the 2021 National Student Survey.