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HEPI/HEA Student Academic Experience Survey 2015

The Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Academy launched results of the 2015 Student Academic Experience Survey on Thursday, 4th June.

Ben Marks
Ben Marks

Ben is YouthSight's founder and CEO. He's a well-renowned personality in the market research industry and has great connections with the MRS and HEPI.

hepi-featured1The Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Academy launched results of the 2015 Student Academic Experience Survey on Thursday, 4th June.

Fieldwork and data analysis services for the study were once again provided by YouthSight using their Student Panel, part of The OpinionPanel Community, the UK’s largest youth research community and access panel.


Based on 15,129 responses from full-time undergraduate students across all years of study, the study comprises one of the largest annual sector surveys.  Weighting was applied by YouthSight to ensure the sample was balanced and reflective of the full-time student population at an overall level. The single and multi-year data tabulations were also provided by YouthSight’s research team.

James MacGregor, Director of Higher Education research at YouthSight commented, “We were once again delighted to be able to help HEPI and HEA with this important research.  Since 2006, YouthSight has been responsible for the fieldwork on all seven waves of this study.  We have been able to help HEPI and their research partners obtain very reliable data (with a high degree of stability).  And all parties can be absolutely sure that, as an independent research agency, we have no axe to grind, on a sensitive topic for the HE sector.” YouthSight’s Managing Director, Ben Marks, added, “We have worked with HEPI for a long time now on this and other surveys. We continue to be impressed by the care and rigour applied by Nick and his team to the data and the ensuing insights.”

Nick Hillman, Director, HEPI, explained, “The survey reveals more about what students at UK universities are up to than any other source. They are generally satisfied with their courses but there are substantial differences in workload: students in some subjects only work half as much on average as students in other subjects. Across all areas, students work for only around three-quarters of the time stated in the national guidelines.”

“Course quality depends on more than contact hours and class size, but students do care deeply about these issues. They are notably less satisfied when they have fewer than 10 contact hours and classes of over 50 students. They also care more about whether their lecturers are trained to teach and have professional expertise than whether they are active researchers.”

“The most striking new finding is that a whopping three-quarters of undergraduates want more information about where their fees go. Providing this is coming to look like an inevitable consequence of relying so heavily on student loans. If it doesn’t happen soon, it could be forced on universities by policymakers.”

“The survey also provides the best available evidence on student wellbeing. Students are less likely to regard their lives as worthwhile and are less happy than others. This suggests good support services, including counselling, should be a priority despite the impending cuts.”