By Tom Larsen-Wright
University students across the country are being urged to boycott the National Students Survey.
The university survey, which is filled out by final year undergraduates every year, will decide whether universities can raise their tuition fees for the next academic year. The increased fees would start at a maximum of £9,500 a year, and could rise by an estimated 3-4 per cent per year.
Universities can currently charge a maximum of £9,000 a year in tuition fees. The National Union of Students is calling for the government to abandon any rise in fees, and so is coordinating the NSS boycott, saying that the survey will be used to justify increased fees.
Students usually answer 27 core questions on subjects including the quality of teaching, academic support, and learning resources; and the collective results are displayed on Unistats for future students to view.
Now, the government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework will also use the results of the survey, with the scheme starting this year. Higher education institutions are ranked Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on their NSS ratings, and universities which achieve a Silver or Gold grade will be allowed to charge students more money for their courses.
Incentives like free pizza and prize draw entries have been offered to students in Essex and across the country, in what some have described as a desperate attempt to get student’s submissions.
After Ipsos Mori, the company that carries out the survey, issued the 2016 results earlier than usual, NUS vice-president Sorana Vieru said: “IPSOS MORI is bricking it.”