UK students are happy according to Ipsos MORI – despite tuition hikes and increases in the cost of living

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Despite student protests, social unrest and uncertainty about the future of the UK’s youth, according to Ipsos MORI, the majority of students are satisfied with their university education.

The National Student Survey (NSS), recently conducted by market research firm Ipsos MORI for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), found that 83 per cent of graduating students are happy with the course they’ve completed.

Future surveys may be affected by the higher tuition to be put in place in 2012 – in England annual fees will almost triple to £9,000 – but only 9 per cent of graduates aren’t satisfied with their course at present. Satisfaction levels on all categories covered by the survey either improved or matched the level they were at in 2010.

The NSS found that higher education students weren’t only happy with the courses they took, but that they were also satisfied with their lecturers, too. Almost four in five students were content with the academic support they received, while 84 per cent responded positively to the teaching they were receiving.

Concerns over tuition are a reality, though. Four thousand people were recently polled by YouGov and asked which words they most associated with universities. The poll found that the word most mentioned in relation to universities was ‘expensive’ (775 mentions). This was followed by the word ‘fees’ (171).

And it’s not just tuition that’s costly for students – and their parents. The cost of food, rent, textbooks and must have products such as Apple laptops all add up, too. According to, UK students spend about £100 a week on rent, up to £50 a week on food and toiletries and even more on textbooks.

This textbook finding is something backed up by analysis on price comparison service The site lists a large variety of prices of textbooks in its books categories. Prices range from around £16 (for used books) in some disciplines to a hefty £200-plus for new medical textbooks.

Despite the costs involved, a Department of Business spokesperson commenting on YouGov’s findings said that higher education is an ‘excellent investment.’


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Christoph Hitchen
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