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Overall student satisfaction declines across the UK

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According to the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS), there has been a significant drop in overall satisfaction with universities across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The NSS is a survey run annually where students in their final year of university are able to review their institution on a series of services, including quality of academic support, suitability of learning resources and, most importantly, whether they have been personally satisfied with the experience. 

This year each of the four countries which took part in the survey experienced at least a 1% drop in overall student satisfaction for the first time in three years and overall only 84% of respondents were satisfied, compared to the record 86% reported in each of the last three years.

The most pronounced drop in student satisfaction came from Welsh students, with the happiness of full-time respondents being recorded at 84%, a 4% drop from 2016, and part-time respondents being recorded at 81%, also a 4% drop from the previous year.

Interestingly, the news comes during ongoing protests against increasing tuition fees, which have already plagued the student community for a number of years and threaten to continue doing so in the future.

Indeed, the situation is set to worsen following plans outlined in the government's white paper on education released this year. 

The paper outlines plans to use the scores from the NSS in conjunction with graduate employment figures to determine the quality of education at each institution through the so called Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Institutions that score the most highly will be granted permission to increase tuition fees beyond the previously imposed £9,000 cap, which will only worsen the position of many students and potentially next year's survey results.

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