Free Education Liverpool today announced that the Guild’s NSS boycott had been successful, with the National Student Survey’s completion rate dropping from 76 per cent in 2016 to just 43 per cent this year. This comes after the Guild ran one of its largest-ever campaigns in response to the government’s white paper reforms to higher education, where universities performing well in the NSS would be able to increase their tuition fees beyond the current cap of £9000 per year.
Data below the 50 per cent threshold is unusable, meaning that the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) can not use the data gathered. Numerous other universities across the country including leading Russell Group institutions such as Cambridge, Manchester and Sheffield have also produced data below the 50 per cent threshold. As a result of the collective success of the boycott, the government have decided to delay increasing fees in line with TEF by at least a year.
In spite of the pro-NSS stance of the University of Liverpool, which incentivised completion with printer credit and prize draws, and even encouraged lecturers to ask final-year students to complete the survey, a staggering number of students elected to resist the NSS. However, Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer this week acknowledged the efforts of the Student Officers in their campaign.
Sean Turner, Guild President, said: “The Guild’s campaign to boycott the NSS has been one of the things I’m most proud of, not only as President, but as a student at Liverpool. Never have I seen such enthusiastic engagement from our members and I am so grateful to everybody who got behind the movement, thank you. So far as I know we had both the lowest fill-out rate and the biggest drop in responses in the country: we smashed it! And to the government, the message is clear: we believe in free education.”