For the second year running Loughborough University has come out on top in the Lloyds Bank Student Life Survey. As students head to university this month, the survey explores a range of factors which together make up the best overall student experience of university life including course quality, employment and earnings potential, accommodation cost, sports facilities, crime and social life.
What makes Loughborough a great place to be a student?
- 93% of final year graduates find employment (or carry on studying), with an average starting salary of £23,000
- 85% of students are satisfied with their course
- As a leading sports university, Loughborough has some of the best facilities amongst British universities for budding athletes
- Loughborough students rate their social life as one of the best in Britain, with access to affordable shops, bars and other amenities
- Crime rate around the university is low meaning students are living in a safe environment
- On the flip side, rents in university owned properties are just above the national average
In second place is the 2013 winner Durham, which had the joint highest score of all the universities (88%) for course satisfaction. An affordable and convenient social life, and a robust employment track record, also helped Durham into the second spot. The University of Edinburgh takes third place scoring strongly on crime, sport and employment.
Student Life Survey – Top Ten
There are some regional hot spots arising in the top ten this year with Scottish universities taking a prominent place; alongside Edinburgh in third place, are Glasgow (ranked 5th) and Dundee (ranked 6th) – all scoring strongly on employment and further studies, course satisfaction and excellent sports facilities. The North East also stands out with Northumbria and Newcastle taking 8th and 9th place respectively. Bath came in at 4th place, followed by Oxford (7th) and Cambridge (10th). (See Table 1).
There are some common factors which received high scores across the universities in the top ten. These include employability, with an average of 94% finding employment (or another course) on completion; earnings potential – the average starting salary is estimated to be around £23,700, which is over £2,000 more than the national average; a safe location and a highly rated social life.
Financial considerations when choosing a university
The Lloyds Bank Student Life Survey includes a number of factors which impact on students’ finances; including a look at local accommodation costs, crime rates and accessibility and affordability of amenities and social activities.
“Loughborough University has kept its top spot in the Lloyds Bank Student Life Survey for the second successive year. The university scored consistently highly across most indicators, such as course satisfaction, high employment prospects, affordable shops and low crime rate. For many young people, university is their first taste of independent living and so it’s important to weigh up a range of factors including costs.” comments Claire Garrod, Head of Personal Current Accounts at Lloyds Bank.
- Universities of Durham, Glasgow, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol were all rated as providing the most satisfactory universityexperiencewith 88% of final year students satisfied with the quality of the course1; above the national average of 85%.
- Students at the University of Northumbria have the least expensive institution owned or sponsored accommodation2, paying an average £1,550 per academic year; followed by the universities of Swansea (£2,500), Teeside (£2,800) and Staffordshire (£2,900) – all significantly below the UK average of £4,283.
- The five universities with the most expensive university owned or sponsored accommodation are all in London; with the average annual cost ranging from £5,900 at University College to £8,250 at City University.
- Undergraduates at Swansea University had the least expensive rooms in private rentals3 with an average annual cost of £2,250. The most expensive private rooms are occupied by students at the London School of Economics (£7,000). The national average is £4,011.
- 95.4% of graduates from Dundee University find employment or further studies4 after completing their final year – the highest proportion. Dundee is followed by King's College London (95.3%), and University of Glasgow (95.0%). On average 93.1% of UK graduates went found employment (or went into further studies)
- The highest full time salaries are earned by students from the London School of Economics (LSE) where graduates reported a median salary (after 6 months in employment) of £28,6465. The earning power of LSE students is followed by those from London South Bank (£27,708), Cambridge (£26,981) and King's College, London (£26,954). The average median starting salary is an estimated £21,564.
- The quality of sports facilities6 is measured indirectly by where the university ranked in the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Overall championship6 in 2014/15; the higher the ranking the better the facilities are assumed to be. Loughborough University had the highest number of points, followed by Durham, Edinburgh and Bath. The average points for all participating universities is 964.7.
- Both Sheffield University and Newcastle University came out top for the best social life7 in a survey on student experience (6.3 out of 7). Followed by the universities of Dundee, Loughborough and Leeds. The UK average is 5.5.
- Also in the same survey, students at Dundee University had access to the least expensive shops, bars and other amenities8 (6.0 out of 7; the UK average is 4.7). Whilst students in Keele, Bath and Cambridge are the most satisfied with their library and opening hours9 (6.6 out of 7; the UK average is 6.1)
- The area around Robert Gordon University and University of Aberdeen have a crime rate (burglary, robbery and violence) of 4.7 per 1,000 residents10 – the lowest amongst university towns. They are followed by the University of Dundee (5.5 per 1,000 residents). Amongst English universities the lowest crime rate is in Durham (12.3 per 1,000 residents), followed by Winchester (13.6 per 1,000 residents) and the University of West of England (15.8 per 1,000 residents). The average crime rate across all universities is 25.8 per 1,000 residents.