Over 339,000 students cast their views in National Student Survey

Results from this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) published today show a 71.5 per cent overall response rate from students on their experiences of higher education, up from 68.6 per cent in 2022.

Two female and two male students studying at desk in classroom at university

The survey – one of the largest of its kind in the world, with over 339,000 responses across the UK this year – asked students about mental wellbeing services and, in England, freedom of expression for the first time as part of a wider review.

The updated survey asks students in the UK questions about a range of factors related to their academic experience, including the teaching on their course, assessment and feedback, and how well courses are organised. New direct questions with item-specific response scales have also been introduced to improve students’ understanding and to enhance the accuracy of results.

For students studying in England, findings included:

  • 90.6 per cent responded positively to ‘how good teaching staff are at explaining things’
  • 89.4 per cent responded positively to ‘how well library resources supported students’ learning’
  • 85.4 per cent responded positively to ‘how easy subject-specific resources were to access when needed’
  • 84.1 per cent responded positively on ‘how often they found their course intellectually stimulating’
  • 75.9 per cent responded positively to ‘how well information on their university or college’s mental wellbeing services was communicated’.

This year’s cohort experienced significant disruption throughout their course, including COVID lockdown measures and industrial action affecting teaching and assessments.

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, said:

‘Graduates this summer have hung up their gowns on a university experience significantly affected by pandemic restrictions and industrial action. The NSS has played an important role in capturing students’ views of this challenging period for both students and university staff. This year saw a high turnout from students, with over 339,000 students responding to the survey and sharing their perceptions of their higher education journey.

‘This year’s survey has been updated to aid students’ understanding of the questions asked, which has resulted in richer, more accurate data. Following a consultation, the presentation of the survey data has also been revised to provide more context, which will enhance the picture of the student experience for regulators, universities, colleges and students.

‘The OfS expects every university and college to carefully consider their NSS results. This data provides important insight from students on their course experience, and we encourage higher education providers to take this student feedback on board as part of their work to ensure all students receive the highest quality higher education experience.'


  1. The NSS is managed by the OfS on behalf of the UK funding and regulatory bodies – the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland), the Scottish Funding Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.
  2. Read the full results of NSS 2023.
  3. This year’s NSS was open to students from 11 January to 30 April 2023. 528 higher education providers took part in the survey. 339,383 students responded to the survey, which represents a 71.5 per cent response rate.
  4. Questions were asked on a four-point positivity measure, with a fifth ‘This does not apply to me’ option.
  5. There was a consultation on how this year’s NSS results would be presented. Read the analysis of consultation responses.
Published 10 August 2023
Last updated 19 September 2023
19 September 2023
Findings figures (in grey box) corrected.

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