- UK offers a more satisfying university experience than anywhere else in the world – 91% of students overall satisfied (UK Higher Education International Unit)
- Quality of student accommodation in the UK rated better than anywhere else (UK Higher Education International Unit)
- Annie McConnell, University of Reading student, discovered Collegiate AC accommodation far exceeded expectations with additional facilities
The UK university experience has undeniably huge appeal, seen in the growing numbers of students studying in the country with each passing year, but whilst it is easy to look at the figures of those choosing a UK study set-up, once here, does the experience meet their great expectations?
A new study commissioned by the UK Higher Education International Unit using data from i-graduate’s International Student Barometer (ISB), has revealed that satisfaction with the UK study experience has in fact improved in recent years, with latest statistics from 2014 showing that 91% are satisfied overall, compared to 90% in 2008.
Alongside this, the UK university experience comes highly recommended: the number of those who would recommend the experience to someone else has grown by 2% in the last six years, placing the UK – the country with the greatest international student intake – firmly on the world stage as the leading higher education destination for student satisfaction.
An important aspect of this appeal is the living experience provided by student accommodation, the quality of which has been shown by the study to have improved by a percentage point to a level of 84% of students satisfied today. This places the quality of UK student properties ahead of its rivals around the world when students were asked to rate out of 4, with the UK’s satisfaction score of 3.07 ahead of Australia at 3.05 and Canada, New Zealand and the US all rating 3.01.
Heriberto Cuanalo, CEO of the leading provider of luxury student accommodation in the UK, Collegiate AC, comments on the findings,
“We are very proud to be at the leading edge of the excellent, and internationally recognised, student accommodation sector in the UK and it is fantastic to see that students are overall extremely satisfied with their university living experience. At Collegiate AC we strive to be the very best we can be and our motto ‘Student living. Just better’ is at the core of everything we do. It is heartening that this is recognised in our consistently high levels of student satisfaction both those overseas students arriving in the UK to study and with our home-grown students that choose to live at a Collegiate AC property.”
One such happy student is Annie McConnell, 18 from Glastonbury, a first-year student at the University of Reading and a resident of Collegiate AC’s Saxon Court. Annie explains how her living experience compares to her previous expectations,
“When choosing my university accommodation, I knew that I wanted to be in a halls environment so that I could make new friends, but also have my own privacy and space, and this is exactly what the individual studio setup at Saxon Court seemed to provide. After looking at the website and visiting the showroom I had an idea of what the rooms looked like, but didn’t think that my studio would be the same. I assumed that the company would have made some things look better than they are in reality – I genuinely thought what I’d seen was far too good to be true – but it turned out that this wasn’t the case at all!
“Saxon Court has exceeded my expectations, when I saw my room I was so happy. I would have just been happy with my studio let alone the gym, cinema room and dinner party room! I also didn’t expect the lounge to be so nice, it really does look like something off of a movie set, it’s incredible!”Interestingly, although the cost of living in the UK for students has increased in recent years, student satisfaction has also increased over and above this. Further revealed by the ‘International Undergraduate Students: The UK’s Competitive Advantage’ report, the most significant study of undergraduate experience ever undertaken, there has been an increase of 7% in living cost satisfaction levels from 2008 to 2014.
As the report indicates, the ‘key here is ‘positive expectation management” and this is where inclusive billing by companies like Collegiate AC comes in. The leading provider ensures that energy and internet bills, for example, are part of the single fee charged, ensuring that student budgeting for cost of living is made simple and painless. Not only this but the on-site facilities offered by Collegiate AC properties, such as on-site gyms and private cinemas at no extra cost, means that, again, budgets are far more manageable.