UK Higher Education

Press release: UK student satisfaction riding high at 80% as Swansea University wins top award

#WUSCA highlights

• Student happiness is higher than a year ago, according to the only university league table based entirely on student opinion.

• Swansea University named University of the Year at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCA) 2019.

• Welsh universities dominate the league tables for the third year in a row.

While uncertainty around Brexit has caused misery for millions, UK students have bucked the trend and say they are happier with university life than they were last year, according to league tables produced by website and published on April 25th 2019.

This year, overall satisfaction among students was 4.04/5 (or 80.8%) among the 41,000+ students who participated in the annual review of 160 UK institutions – with 69 universities registering improved satisfaction ratings from their own students.

Swansea University gained top spot, winning University of the Year, while its Welsh counterparts outperformed their Scottish and English peers, clearing up across eight categories.

Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect which owns Whatuni, believes that this result signifies the ongoing commitment of the higher education sector to the student experience. He said: “This year’s strong results are a clear indicator that despite the increasing cost associated with accessing a university education, students recognise and value the opportunities, support and teaching that they receive.”

Swansea also claimed first place under the International category and placed top three for the Course & Lecturers and Postgraduate categories.

Professor Paul Boyle, VC elect of Swansea University, said: “We are thrilled to have been crowned the Whatuni Student Choice Awards University of the Year for the second time in five years. As the award is voted for by students, it makes it even more special as they are at the heart of all we do at Swansea.”

Speaking about the Students’ Union category, Shakira Martin, President of National Union of Students, said: “Student views are vital in identifying the ways students’unions and NUS continue to deliver the activities and services that students need. We’re thrilled to celebrate some of the hard work of students’ unions at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards.”

Reflecting on the importance of student reviews, Martha Longdon, Student Experience Board Member for the Office for Students and Whatuni Student Advisory Board Member, said: “Reviews and comments are vital to improving the student experience and provide an invaluable narrative of university life by allowing students to feedback on the issues they care most about. As students are increasingly seen as partners and co-creators in their education, this method allows them not only to offer detailed praise and concerns, but also the opportunity to suggest creative and innovative solutions which institutions may not have considered.”

The winners of all 15 categories were announced on Thursday evening as part of Whatuni’s Student Choice Awards (WUSCA) annual gala dinner in London, which was hosted by comedian Omid Djalili.

Top 10 best rated universities in 2019:

1. Swansea University
2. Aberystwyth University
3. Loughborough University
4. Bangor University
5. Harper Adams University
6. Leeds Arts University
7. Edge Hill University
8. University of Wales Trinity Saint David
9. Nottingham Trent University
10. Royal Agricultural University

Whatuni Choice Awards 2019 full results:

University of the Year
1st Swansea University
2nd Aberystwyth University
3rd Loughborough University

1st Loughborough University
2nd Edge Hill University
3rd Bangor University

City Life
1st University of Edinburgh
2nd Northumbria University, Newcastle
3rd University of Bristol

Clubs & Societies
1st Bangor University
2nd Loughborough University
3rd University of Exeter

Course & Lecturers
1st University of Wales Trinity Saint David
2nd Harper Adams University
3rd Swansea University

FE College
1st DN Colleges Group
2nd Blackpool and the Fylde College
3rd Solihull College & University Centre

Independent HE
1st Norland College
2nd Point Blank Music School
3rd dBs Music

1st Swansea University
2nd Aberystwyth University
3rd Bangor University

Job Prospects
1st Harper Adams University
2nd Hartpury University
3rd Loughborough University

1st Aberystwyth University
2nd Swansea University
3rd Loughborough University

Student Support
1st Harper Adams University
2nd Leeds Arts University
3rd Bishop Grosseteste University

Students’ Union
1st University of Sheffield
2nd Loughborough University
3rd Cardiff University

Uni Facilities
1st Leeds Arts University
2nd Loughborough University
3rd Edge Hill University

Prospective Student Engagement
1st Goldsmiths, University of London
2nd Southampton Solent University
3rd University of Gloucestershire

Giving Back
1st Birkbeck, University of London
2nd Newcastle University
3rd Cardiff University


Notes for editors:

Media enquiries
For more information or to secure an interview with IDP Connect CEO, Simon Emmett, please contact Katie Duncan, Head of Communications, IDP Connect.
Email: Tel: 0207 384 6040.

The full 2019 Whatuni Student Choice Awards will be available from 06:30am Friday 26th April here.
The winning institution video will be available from 06:30am on
A detailed analysis will be available from 00.01am on the IDP Connect news page.

About the Whatuni Student Choice Awards – #WUSCA
Now in its sixth year, the Whatuni Student Choice Awards’ main categories are compiled entirely from student reviews. The reviews are a combination of electronic and physically collected reviews by the Whatuni team, who this year travelled 43,000 miles. The results are both quantitative (scores) and qualitative (free text) and the total reviews for 2018/19 collected were in excess of 41,000.

The reviews-based categories are: Accommodation, City Life, Clubs & Societies, Courses & Lecturers, Job Prospects, Student Support, Students’ Union, Uni Facilities, International, Postgraduate, Overall Experience (University of the Year), FE College and Independent HE.

The additional submission-based categories, as judged by the Whatuni Student Advisory Board, are Giving Back and Prospective Student Engagement.

To feature in the main table categories, institutions have to have taught degree-awarding powers. The threshold for featuring in the main categories is 150-200 reviews, depending on institution size. The FE College and Independent HE categories have lower thresholds.

About Whatuni
Whatuni ( is the biggest and most comprehensive university course comparison site in the UK and is part of IDP Connect. Whatuni uses up-to-date course data from UCAS, HESA, and The Complete University Guide table rankings, as well as its own data and insights collected throughout the year, including the 160,000+ student reviews that are currently hosted on the site.

About IDP Connect
IDP Connect is a division of IDP Education, global leaders in student marketing and recruitment. Working with institutions as true partners, IDP Connect understands institutions’ needs and enhances their capabilities with the transformative power of data, insights and engaged student communities. Whether an institution’s campaign and recruitment ambitions are local or global, IDP Connect’s inspired solutions empower them to connect with the right students, with clarity and confidence.

IDP Connect is embedded in the markets its educational partners operate in and gives them access to over 30 countries worth of in-market knowledge. It also has a trusted student audience of more than 98 million prospective students across its sites each year. IDP Connect’s exclusive real-time data provides institutions with actionable insights to drive and inform their marketing and recruitment strategies. Together with its partners, IDP Connect plays a vital role in global higher education and building on the trust and connections it has with students throughout the world.

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