1. Main points
Between 20 and 25 November 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) conducted a pilot survey of university students to provide information on student behaviour at university, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
An estimated 56% of students, who live away from their home (usual non-term address), plan to return home for Christmas.
Of those who responded, more than half (57%) reported a worsening in their mental health and well-being between the beginning of the autumn term (September 2020) and being surveyed.
Students are significantly more anxious than the general population of Great Britain, with mean scores of 5.3 compared with 4.2 respectively, (where 0 is “not anxious at all” and 10 is “completely anxious”).
Student experience has changed because of the coronavirus; considering academic experience, 29% of students reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their experience in the autumn term.
Over half (53%) of students reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their social experience in the autumn term.
These are experimental statistics, so care needs to be taken when interpreting them.
More about coronavirus
- Explore the latest coronavirus data from the ONS and other sources.
- All ONS analysis, summarised in our coronavirus roundup.
- View all coronavirus data.
- Find out how we are working safely in our studies and surveys.
3. Analysing the data
Student Covid Insights Survey
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are conducting a pilot study analysing student behaviour during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This survey is called the Student Covid Insights Survey. This is the third pilot study; datasets for pilot 1 and pilot 2 are published and links are available in the Related links.
In this pilot study, 100,000 students were invited by email (from the National Union of Students (NUS)) to participate in the online study. There were 2,006 responses, giving us a response rate of 2%. We would like to thank and acknowledge the important role the NUS had in this survey.
Analysing the data
The estimates are adjusted (weighted) to ensure they are representative of students in England. The pilot was sent to 100,000 students across England, but not all responded. A disproportionate number of female students responded, and responses also varied by region. To address this, we apply weighting to ensure the sample is representative of the student population in different regions of England and representative of sex.
Uncertainty in the data
The estimates presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty. All survey data based on a sample have an element of uncertainty. In some cases, we have used confidence intervals to determine whether differences between students and the general population of Great Britain are statistically significant.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456921