The government plans to allow universities to increase tuition fees yet again from September 2017 using data from the National Student Survey (NSS) taken by final year undergraduates to justify the tuition fee increase.
Students around the country are campaigning against any rise in fees and calling on the government to abandon its plans.
The National Union of Students (NUS) is coordinating a boycott of the NSS in 2017. Sussex students voted to support this boycott in the autumn term referenda.
If you have already completed the survey, you can still withdraw your response so that your feedback is not used in this way.
Pledge to join the boycott
Tell the NSS company not to contact you
Withdraw your NSS response
The Government is planning to raise tuition fees using data from the National Student Surveyto justify the tuition fee increase. This is part of the new ‘Teaching Excellence framework’ (TEF) - a government initiative. The campaign's aim is to sever the link between the TEF and tuition fee increases. By nationally boycotting the NSS we send a statement to the government that says that students will not be complicit in raising tuition fees.
Academic staff who are members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU), have lent their support to the boycott, you can read this statement of support on their website.
Easy. Just don’t fill in the survey.
To ensure that you aren’t contacted to fill in the survey you can ask to opt-out of communications from the company who run the survey. You can tell the company who run the survey not to call or email you about it via the survey website (it will take less time to do this than fill out the survey).
Finally, if you have boycotted the NSS survey, intend to and/or support of the NSS Boycott in general, sign the pledge at www.sussexstudent.com/pledge.
Will boycotting the NSS damage the reputation of the University of Sussex or Brighton & Sussex Medical School?
The government and university should not be using your feedback as a tool to raise tuition fees. There are other ways in which you can give your feedback and make sure people within the university know what you think. These include giving feedback to Student Reps, modular feedback and module evaluation questionnaires, the Student Led Teaching Awards or speaking to a Full Time Elected Officer. These all give better quality feedback that the university can use. There are also options such as the UK Engagement Survey, and the International Students Barometer which give better feedback from a broader range of students.
Will boycotting the NSS mean lower student recruitment numbers leading to less funding for the University and the Students’ Union?
The aim of the boycott is not to impact on the success of the University of Sussex or Brighton & Sussex Medical School. Student application numbers are up this year and no one can predict future student recruitment numbers. We are in conversation with University and we are both clear that our disagreement about the NSS boycott will not impact on our other work between the Students’ Union and the University
Can I fill in the survey then retract my answers if I change my mind?
Yes. You retract your submission at any point up to the closing date by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re still undecided about the boycott we suggest you don’t fill in the survey yet and take the time to decide if it is the right thing for you to do.
How do I get to give my feedback to the university without filling in the NSS?
There are plenty of other options that the university and the Students’ Union have to give feedback. These include giving feedback to Student Reps, modular feedback and end-of-term surveys, the Student Led Teaching Awards or speaking to a Full Time Elected Officer. These all give better quality feedback that the university can use. There are also the UK Engagement Survey, and the International Students Barometer which give better feedback from a broader range of students.
If tuition fees don’t go up will the standard of my education suffer?
No, there is no direct correlation between tuition fees and teaching quality, as currently home undergraduate students pay variably different fees to international students for the same education.
I’m not a finalist undergraduate student, how does this affect me?
In a few years you will be asked to fill out the NSS and therefore pledging now has a great impact on the campaign. It is not only new students who will be affected by the fee increases as students who are continuing on into second, third or fourth year will also see their fees going up. Ultimately it will be your fees that are increasing, so campaigning now is very much in your self-interest and the interest of future generations.
The TEF is also set to be applied at postgraduate level in the future. The NSS, being a tool of marketisation, is being used by universities to performance-manage postgraduates who teach, adding unnecessary pressure to new academics.
I’m not a finalist undergraduate student, how can I get involved in the boycott?
Share the message far and wide both online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and in person (a shout out in your lectures or seminars would be amazing) about the NSS Boycott and why we are doing it. You can also come along to our fortnightly campaign meetings, starting Thursday 3rd February, 4pm, Falmer House Common Room. This campaign will only be a success if lots of students are active in encouraging the boycott.
I want to give Sussex/BSMS good feedback; will boycotting stop me?
How will a boycott of the NSS help to freeze fees?
The NSS will be one of the measurements that the government will use in the planned Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Universities will be able to raise their tuition fees based on the ranking they receive in the TEF. By boycotting the NSS, we will be demonstrating to the government that, as students, we will not provide them with the data that they want to justify raising fees.
The boycott is part of a national campaign which is being carried out by students and Students’ Unions across the country. It aims to damage the reputation of the TEF; and the idea that TEF is in the interests of students. This will give the NUS leverage and power in their negotiations with the government and will provide the proof for the argument that there should be no link between the TEF and tuition fees. We also don't think the NSS accurately measures ‘teaching excellence'.
This boycott isn’t about damaging the reputation of individual universities, it’s about sending a message to the government that students won’t be complicit in the raising of fees. Reputations and league table positions change all the time based on a variety of factors and don’t necessarily reflect what it is like to study here. We don’t think the NSS accurately reflects the quality of teaching and that the ‘value’ and reputation of universities should be based on it. The boycott is a national campaign with 22+ unions actively encouraging students to take part and numerous student groups at other universities taking part. Any impact will be nationwide.