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Student Satisfaction Drops at the University of Surrey for the Fifth Year Running By Charlotte West

The University of Surrey has seen a decrease in student satisfaction for the fifth year running, as revealed in the 2020 National Students' Survey (NSS), which was released this week.

The results showed a decline of over 3.5% from 82.87% in 2019 to 79.23%. 'Assessment and feedback' and 'academic support' were the two categories most affected.

In an email sent to all students on the 15th of July, the Vice-Provost Education, Professor Osama Khan stated: "This is of course disappointing, but we will continue to work hard to address the issues that you have raised with us, and I am confident that the comprehensive action plan we have developed will increasingly have impact as we move forward."

Khan announced that the University will be examining the feedback from the NSS over the summer and will have an action plan to share with students by October.

The Students' Union President, Lizzie Rodulson provided a comment on the results for The Stag: "Surrey students are now 111th out of 135 in the country for course satisfaction according to the results this week of the National Student Survey for final year undergrads. The University has now fallen in the NSS for five years running.

"If the University is ever going to reverse this trend, it needs to be prepared to make meaningful change, especially for next year, to show that it can offer an excellent education for all students. Over several years, we [the Students' Union] have continued to challenge the University on things from the environment on campus to the fairness of marking. Surrey students deserve better and so, we say again, the leadership at the University needs to change."

In the 2015 NSS the University of Surrey had an overall student satisfaction of 92% and this has consistently dropped by around 3% year on year.

In May 2019 the Students' Union organised a vote of no confidence in Vice-Chancellor Max Lu, and the results showed that 84% of students were dissatisfied with the performance of governing bodies at the University. The results of the referendum were dismissed by Lu as only 14% of the student body participated.

The NSS was open to final year students between the 6th January and the 30th April, suggesting that the results may have been affected by how the University dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. The release of the data was delayed from May to July in order for the Office for Students (OfS) to revise the impact of COVID-19 on the results. However, Richard Puttock from the OfS declared that "there was no evidence that the results had been strongly impacted by the pandemic", as only around 21% of students took the survey after the 11th March, when the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic.

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Created with an image by Sandeep Chitreddy