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The HE Bite: 11th August – let’s talk about the importance of data

The HE Bite: 11th August – let’s talk about the importance of data

Data forms an integral part of the work we do at Net Natives – especially for the Higher Education sector. We have decided to focus on this element in our latest weekly HE Bite instalment.

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Student satisfaction Survey sees a decline in participation amid NUS boycott

The National Student Survey expanded this year to increase its data collection on student satisfaction from final-year undergraduates. Given that the Student Satisfaction Survey can be used to justify tuition increases, the National Union of Students (NUS) argues that taking part in the survey is forcing student compliance on tuition policy. To push back on the veracity of the data, NUS has urged individual university unions to discourage participation.

The survey, along with data on student employability, would be used to determine the Teaching Excellence Framework results and drive up tuition rates at universities that score well. This year’s publication shows a dramatic fall of 12 thousand participants, compared to the 2016 survey. The survey also indicates a two percent drop (from 86% to 84%) in student satisfaction.

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Why does this matter to you?

The National Student Survey has been a staple for the sector. Understanding why the numbers may have shifted is important to sector stakeholders. Contextualising student satisfaction data, amid the NUS boycott, can help HEIs to better understand the pulse of student sentiment.  

Clearing competition: drop in Applications set to Empower students

Earlier this year, we learned that application figures are down four percent overall. UCAS numbers highlighted the significant drop in students from the European Union. Mature students experienced a decline, as well as young students; who are also decreasing in line with the youth population.

These figures set the scene for an interesting year at Clearing. It is predicted that students will benefit from the dip in enrolment figures, with a decrease in the number of universities not participating in Clearing, and an increase in offers made to students with lower grades. Recruitment experts speculate that the increase of unconditional offers highlights a pattern of decreased selectivity in the sector. It appears that the competition this year may be at the sector level rather than among incoming undergraduates.

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Why does this matter to you?

Clearing looks competitive this year! HEIs are well aware of the challenges ahead as student numbers experience a dip. Check out our National Clearing Survey.

Office of National Statistics: is the data flawed?

A new study by the Department of Education revealed that the monetary power of the UK’s HE sector (including TNE) increased by 30% between 2010 and 2014. The full report, which can be read herehighlights the importance of the HE sector to the UK economy. Given the importance of transnational education and international student mobility, it is unsurprising that the sector has not responded well to the increased politicisation of international students and their mobility.

The Office of National Statistics, which released figures indicating that 90,000 international students a year remain in the United Kingdom, has been asked by the Office for Statistics Regulation to downgrade those figures to experimental status. Given the role that the ONS has played in the public debate around immigration, the watchdog group believes that the potential flaws in the reporting need to be addressed.

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Why does this matter to you?

Pressure to clamp down on inbound mobility might have impacted the number of EU students entering the United Kingdom, as per UCAS.  The sector relies on international students, so it is important that we have a holistic understanding of the data that is being used to influence public debate and opinion.

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