To Boycott Or Not To Boycott?

What is going on?

You may have recently seen a lot around the NSS (National Student Survey). With talks of boycotting, tuition fees rising, and many acronyms, you may be confused as to what is going on.

The Government has introduced the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) where universities will be ranked bronze, silver or gold based on three core metrics and a 15-page submission.


What is the NSS?

The NSS is a survey that is open to all final year undergraduate students to fill out. The NSS collects satisfaction rates about students’ time at university and how they found their course – from teaching and learning, to timetabling.


So how do universities get their TEF ranking and how does the NSS fit in?

Three core metrics are used to help score a university. They are:

  • Retention Rates (how many students drop out)
  • Students’ earnings and careers after graduating
  • NSS Scores

Alongside this, the University submit a 15-page document to complement their metrics.


So why are Students’ Unions boycotting the NSS?

The rank that your university gets determines how much they charge in tuition fees year on year. Next year fees will rise to £9,250 and could rise as high as £26,000 by 2026.

So, the NSS feeds into TEF, which can then raise tuition fees.


Should I boycott the NSS?

The Students’ Union at UWE does not currently have a policy to boycott the NSS.

A student idea has been put forward regarding this so if you want to vote on the matter you can here.

Ultimately, the decision is down to you.


Here are a few pros and cons:

To Boycott:

  • It is now linked to tuition fees rising each year
  • It treats students as consumers rather than learners
  • Satisfaction levels do not necessarily measure quality of teaching
  • Scores can be used as a justification to close courses
  • Fewer students filling it in shows a collective message to the government against tuition fee rises


To Not Boycott:

  • It provides the university with final year students’ views of their time at university
  • The data can be useful in aiding us to create positive changes
  • It can help the university identify areas of concern to address
  • It can help prospective students when making decisions
  • It is one way in which you can voice what could be changed

Keep an eye out on The Students' Union website for further updates on this issue.