Majority of Students Dissatisfied with their University’s Coronavirus Support | Top Universities

Majority of Students Dissatisfied with their University’s Coronavirus Support

By Julia G

Updated July 27, 2020 Updated July 27, 2020

Less than a third (29 percent) of students felt supported by their university during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NatWest Student Living Index 2020 has revealed.

The study surveyed 2,806 university students living in the UK in June 2020 and found that the universities of Aberdeen and Exeter were the best in the UK student city for providing support during the crisis. 

Aberdeen leads the way in coronavirus response

University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen was rated the highest in the country for their COVID-19 response, with 46 percent of students rating their response positively.

Students at Aberdeen are 75 percent more likely to rate their university's communication throughout the pandemic as excellent, compared with the national average. 

Aberdeen has a large international student population (ranking 47th globally for this indicator in the most recent QS World University Rankings), who they have provided considerable support for during the pandemic. Chinese students, for example, have benefited from a series of vlogs on Weibo designed to update them about the latest guidance and advice. 

Aberdeen were followed by the University of Nottingham, where 40 percent of students rated their coronavirus response positively. In stark contrast, the University of Portsmouth only achieved a 19 percent approval rating.

Despite being ranked highest overall for their COVID-19 response, Aberdeen falls in second behind the University of Exeter for best communication, with the university scoring 62 percent in this rating.

The three least well-regarded universities for coronavirus response are spread across the UK, with the University of Manchester scoring 19 percent; the University of Oxford 16 percent; and Queen's University Belfast 13 percent. 

Have current students’ degrees been affected?

A quarter of students believe that coronavirus has had a negative effect on their ability to achieve their degree qualifications. Students at Plymouth University and the University of Sheffield felt that their degrees were most affected, with 39 and 35 percent respectively agreeing that the pandemic has affected their ability to achieve their degree qualification. 

Conversely, only 13 percent of students at Exeter felt the same way. This may be related to the fact that students at Exeter voted their university the best for communication, as observed above.

Value for money in doubt 

Shockingly, only one in 10 students believe they’re receiving value for money for their education during the pandemic. Scottish students felt they were getting the best value for money, with the lowest scoring city, Brighton, only achieving two percent in this indicator.

Despite almost all education being shifted online, less than two-thirds of students across the UK have been provided with free online learning resources. This is despite the UK government announcing that UK students will pay the full £9,250 annual tuition fee even if universities are still closed in the autumn. 

Almost 30 percent of universities have provided access to online counselling – despite this, a staggering 73 percent of students are unsatisfied with university mental health support, according to the same NatWest study.

Charitable initiatives on the up

Coronavirus volunteering

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, with the pandemic inspiring an increase in charitable initiatives across universities in the UK. 

10 percent of all students are signed up to the NHS volunteer program, with students at Durham University leading the way – one in five Durham students have signed up to the scheme. 

On TopUniversities, we’ve previously explored how UK students can help during the coronavirus crisis, you can find out more about ways to help out here, even as lockdown restrictions are loosened.

This article was originally published in July 2020 .

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Written by
Julia is the Assistant Editor for TopUniversities, publishing articles for students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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