1. Main points
- The majority (90%) of students said they had already been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) at least once; similar to early November (89%).
- A minority (8%) of students said they had not been vaccinated against COVID-19; of those, 40% said that they were fairly or very unlikely to take a vaccine if offered and 38% said they were fairly or very likely to take a vaccine if offered.
- The majority (91%) of students reported they would request a test if they developed COVID-19 symptoms.
- Half (50%) of students reported taking a COVID-19 test in the last 7 days.
- When asked if they think they have had COVID-19 at some point during the coronavirus pandemic, 20% of students said yes and that this was confirmed with a positive test.
- The average life satisfaction score for students was 6.7, which was significantly lower than the adult population in Great Britain (7.1), but was not any different to the 16- to 29-year-old age group (6.7).
- The proportion of students feeling lonely often or always was 14%, significantly higher than the adult population in Great Britain (6%), but not significantly different to the 16- to 29-year-old age group (10%).
- Less than a third (28%) of students reported that their mental health and well-being had worsened since the start of the Autumn 2021 term, similar to early November (30%).
- Of students who were enrolled in an educational institution during the 2020/21 academic year, 43% indicated that their academic performance has been better since the start of the Autumn 2021 term compared with the previous academic year.
The statistics presented are experimental statistics, so care needs to be taken when interpreting them. It is worth noting this survey has a relatively small sample size and low response rate. While this has been weighted and is comparable with previous findings, this has an impact on the level of certainty of this research.
3. Measuring the data
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is conducting a survey analysing student behaviour during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This survey is called the Student COVID-19 Insights Survey (SCIS). University students included are those that are studying on foundation to postgraduate level programmes at universities in England.
The SCIS paused after the release on 17 June 2021 because of the end of the 2020/21 academic year. This is the fourth wave conducted for the 2021/22 academic year. Please note that the population of students sampled is therefore different from previous waves of this survey and comparisons made between this and previous waves should take this into consideration.
The survey was conducted between 19 and 29 November 2021 using an online survey tool and all answers were self-reported. A total of 100,000 students in English universities were invited to take part via their email address held by National Union of Students (NUS). An email was sent from the NUS with a response rate of 1.2%. We would like to thank and acknowledge the important role the NUS had in conducting this survey.
When the survey was conducted, there were no restrictions to teaching and learning in higher education providers as a result of COVID-19. More information can be found in the Higher education COVID-19 operational guidance.
Estimates in this report are based on weighted counts that are representative of the population of students studying at universities in England. Population totals are taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) 2019/20 estimates. Estimates are weighted for sex, age, and region of university provider.
Uncertainty in the data
The experimental statistics presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty. As with all survey data based on a sample, there is an element of uncertainty as they are susceptible to respondent error and bias.
Adult population in Great Britain
Where possible, comparisons have been drawn with the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to compare the experiences and behaviours of students with the adult population in Great Britain. The comparisons are used to give a broad idea of the different experiences of each group, but the statistics measure data from different timeframes, slightly different questions and different sampling methods so are not directly comparable. The period of the OPN used for comparison was 18 to 28 November 2021.
The statistical significance of differences has been determined by non-overlapping confidence intervals. A confidence interval gives an indication of the degree of uncertainty of an estimate, showing the precision of a sample estimate. The 95% confidence intervals are calculated so that if we repeated the study many times, 95% of the time the true unknown value would lie between the lower and upper confidence limits. A wider interval indicates more uncertainty in the estimate.Back to table of contents
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