Postgraduate students in the UK report higher satisfaction levels than domestic peers

The research, based on responses from nearly 84,000 postgraduate-taught students in 101 institutions across the UK, disclosed that course satisfaction levels among non-EU overseas students have consistently risen and now surpass those of UK students by a considerable margin.

Share the post
Photo via Pexels

Non-EU overseas postgraduate students have indicated higher levels of satisfaction with their degrees compared to domestic students, as per the findings of Advance HE’s Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2023.

The research, based on responses from nearly 84,000 postgraduate-taught students in 101 institutions across the UK, disclosed that course satisfaction levels among non-EU overseas students have consistently risen and now surpass those of UK students by a considerable margin.

The results indicated that international students had higher satisfaction rates across all the measures employed in the study, encompassing teaching, engagement with the course, assessment, skills development, and course organization.

In contrast, satisfaction rates for domestic students have remained consistent since 2014, with the exception of a decline during the pandemic, while non-EU international students have experienced a positive increase in satisfaction levels.

As an illustration, satisfaction levels among domestic students with the assessment at the postgraduate level stood at 71 percent both in 2014 and 2023. However, for overseas students, the same measure exhibited a satisfaction rate of 72 percent in 2014 and has now increased to 82 percent in 2023.

Among international students in 2023, the measure that recorded the highest satisfaction rates was resources, with 93 percent satisfaction. This was followed by teaching (87 percent), engagement (85 percent), and assessment and organization, both at 82 percent.

Global comparisons

The report revealed that overseas students were less inclined to contemplate leaving their course compared to their domestic counterparts. Among UK students, 29 percent considered leaving, whereas students from India (6 percent), China (9 percent), Pakistan (9 percent), and Nigeria (12 percent) showed lower percentages in considering leaving their courses.

Survey Executive at Advance HE and author of the report, Jason Leman said: “One of the most striking findings is the extent to which overseas students are increasingly likely to be satisfied with their experience. This highlights the successful expansion of taught postgraduate study for these students across UK higher education, particularly in business and management, but by no means limited to that subject area.”

Leman added that UK students are more prone to contemplate leaving their courses compared to overseas students, primarily due to the challenges of balancing studies with job pressures or family responsibilities. He also pointed out that financial constraints are increasingly becoming a source of difficulty for both UK and international students. 


Global Student Satisfaction Survey

Another recent Global Student Satisfaction Survey, conducted by Studyportals, UniBuddy, and the British Council IELTS, sheds light on how students from over 200 countries rate their educational experience in higher learning institutions across 126 countries.

More than just numbers, the survey delves into the pulse of the student community, reflecting shifts in satisfaction that carry significant implications for the future of higher education, particularly in the “Big Four” nations: Australia, Canada, the UK, and the United States.

In a significant initiative aimed at assessing the student experience, the survey appraised institutions across multiple dimensions, including the Admission Process, Student-Teacher Interaction, Student Diversity, Quality of Student Life, Online Classroom Experience, and Career Development.

Significantly, the online classroom experience was the lowest-ranked category, but showed the most improvement (7.2 percent) compared to 2021, indicating an adaptation to the virtual environment fostered by the pandemic.

One million applicants by 2030

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has forecasted about a million higher education applicants in universities in the United Kingdom by the end of 2030.

The 18-year student population and mobile students growth will lead to a 30 percent increase in applicants by the end of the decade, according to new figures released by UCAS. This is an increase from more than three-quarter of a million in 2022.

The number of internationally mobile students is also expected to increase significantly with 1.6 million in 2000, rising to 5.6 million in 2020 and 9 million in 2030.

“Ultimately this is an economic challenge as much as an educational one and will have profound impacts on the current and future shape of the UK,” said Clare Marchant, chief executive of UCAS.

“If we do not collectively act today, we risk missing a significant economic opportunity, whilst also leaving a generation behind.”

Marchant also introduced “Journey to Million,” a collection of essays that highlights the challenges and opportunities of higher education applicants.

Increase in visa fees for international students

The United Kingdom has implemented a hike in visa fees for international students, prompting apprehensions regarding its potential repercussions student mobility and the attractiveness of UK universities.

This adjustment took effect on Oct. 4, with certain fees surging to as much as £1,500 (around $1,810) per individual, as reported by Fragomen, a prominent provider of immigration services, according to the FE news.

This policy shift marks a departure from the previous emphasis on reducing net migration in the UK, indicating a reevaluation of immigration as a plausible revenue stream for the country.

Here is a breakdown of the revised immigration fees:

  • Certificate of sponsorship (employment): £239 (approximately $299)
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies: £25 (approximately $30)
  • Visa fee per applicant student when outside of the UK: £490 (approximately $591)
  • Visa fee per applicant when outside the UK for other routes: £719 (approximately $868) for stays of less than three years and £1,420 (approximately $1,714) for stays exceeding three years
  • Visa fee per applicant inside the UK: £827 (approximately $998) for stays of less than three years and £1,500 (approximately $1,810) for stays exceeding three years
  • Immigration Skills Charge (employment): £1,000 (approximately $1,207) for the first year and £500 (approximately $603) for subsequent years

Additionally, the Immigration Health Surcharge, currently at £624 (approximately $753) per adult and £470 (approximately $567) per child or for those holding a Student visa, is set to increase later this year.

Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

banner place

What to read next...
Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

Sign Up for Weekly Top 12 News

Expert picks in the intl ed world, in your inbox.

Get the Top 12 trending international education news stories from around the world, sourced from authoritative media outlets and publications worldwide. 

This expertly curated newsletter aims to support the global knowledge base of international education stakeholders – higher education institutions, recruitment partners, government officials, service providers, and students. 

The newsletter is delivered to subscribers’ inbox every Wednesday evening at 10:30 PM PT / 1:39 AM ET. 

We respect and protect your privacy. If you do not wish to receive future issues of the MSM Reporter, you may unsubscribe at any time.
Read our privacy policy