Aberystwyth student satisfaction falls for fourth consecutive year

Aberystwyth University Old College. Photo: Guy Drury

Aberystwyth University Old College. Photo: Guy Drury

ABERYSTWYTH University’s satisfaction rate has dropped once again in the National Student Survey.

The survey, taken by undergraduate students in their final year, was completed between January and April 2013 and has returned an overall satisfaction rating of 83%.

The fall marks the fourth consecutive year that student satisfaction at Aberystwyth has declined, from 92% in 2010, to 89% in 2011 87% in 2012 and 83% in 2013.

The 4% drop was the largest in the country (excluding small and specialist universities), joining scandal-hit London Met where hundreds of students were threatened with deportation earlier this year.

The satisfaction rating is measured on students’ response to the statement ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course’. 1,182 of the 1,424 students who responded to the question answered ‘mostly agree’ or ‘definitely agree’.

In the 2010 survey, new benchmarks were introduced which indicate the overall satisfaction rating that each university should expect to get, taking into account the types of students and the subjects identified as influencing its satisfaction rate. The benchmarks are changed each year to reflect the sector average as well as the mix of students.

Aberystwyth have historically exceeded their benchmark each year; by 9% in 2010, 5% in 2011 and 2% in 2012. However, the 2013 benchmark was set at 86%, which the University have fallen below by 3%.

NSS Logo

Despite the poor performance, Rebecca Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student and Staff Services, said that she was “pleased that student satisfaction remains high”.

She continued to discuss the plans to enhance and extend the residential and learning facilities: “We are working with the Students’ Union to listen carefully to students’ needs and investing appropriately in our campus, its facilities and additional learning resources.”

“To date 13 teaching rooms in the Hugh Owen building have been refurbished and redecorated and a complete overhaul of PCs in student rooms is underway. There is also the extension of campus wide Wi-Fi and a new student e-mail service. ”

“I am confident that this investment in the student experience will be tangible and visible to our new cohort of students joining in September. Aberystwyth is a fantastic place to study and live and I look forward to welcoming new and returning students to the University in the new academic year.”

Students’ Union Education Officer Grace Burton said “It’s really disappointing to learn of this, especially considering that until recently Aberystwyth University ranked incredibly well with regards to student satisfaction. Clearly, something has gone wrong – some factors such as last year’s timetabling issues have already been repaired – and I know that the University is taking these findings seriously.”

“It’s worrying to think that the NSS is the first time some have their say about their time here, so I’ll be working hard over the next year with our student Academic Representatives to provide students with ample opportunity to voice any concerns they have about the quality of their course. I know from my time as a student that Aberystwyth really can be a fantastic place to study, and I hope that by working with and listening to students and their representatives, the University will be able to regain the reputation it previously had.”