Information for students
Prospective students have access to public information, which includes the outcomes of the National Student Survey (NSS), the Unistats website and Key Information Sets (KIS). Part C of the UK Quality Code for higher education (Information about higher education provision) outlines how higher education providers must meet expectations about providing this information.
The NSS gathers feedback on student satisfaction with their course. It has been operating since 2005 and is run annually. Ipsos MORI has been awarded the contract to run the survey until 2016. A ten year review of the NSS is in progress.
The NSS is conducted in all higher education (HE) institutions and directly funded further education institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some Scottish HE institutions have chosen to participate in the NSS and their results are also available on the Unistats website.
The results of the most recent NSS are published on the Unistats website, which also includes data on students' entry qualifications, progression, degree results, and career and further study information. NSS data from previous years are available on the HEFCE website, together with further information on information on learning and teaching.
More detailed NSS results are available to institutions and student unions for internal purposes, via the NSS results website. This includes anonymised qualitative comments, which are not published on Unistats.
The development of public information about HE, including the NSS, is overseen by the UK-wide Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (HEPISG).
For further details about participation in the survey, contact Ipsos MORI, tel 020 8861 8110, email NSS@ipsos-mori.com.
The KIS are comparable sets of standardised information about undergraduate full or part time courses, designed to meet the information needs of prospective students. They are published on the Unistats website where potential students can compare KIS data for different courses. They are also available on each course page on the websites of universities and colleges, and link to the Unistats website.
The areas of information that students have identified as useful:
- student satisfaction
- course information
- employment and salary data
- accommodation costs
- financial information, such as fees
- students' satisfaction with the Students’ Union (Association or Guild) at their institution
The KIS are currently being evaluated. They will be reviewed regularly to ensure that ithey continue to fulfil users' needs, both in terms of content and delivery.
We and the other UK higher education funding bodies have been supporting improvements in information provision for prospective postgraduate taught students.
Research has been published that identifies particular information needs for postgraduate students. It has produced recommendations for higher education institutions and the HE sector to improve information for a diverse audience of prospective postgraduate students.
‘Steps to Postgraduate study’ is a website for prospective postgraduate students that will support students in making their study choices and was launched in 2015.