London, April 10: Students at a little-known University of Bath are the happiest in the UK as compared to those in prestigious universities like Cambridge and Oxford, according to a students' satisfaction survey.
The Times Higher Education survey examined almost 14,700 full-time undergraduates across the United Kingdom and ranked universities under 21 separate measures by not only assessing learning and teaching, but also campus facilities, industry connections and cheap amenities.
Rising from the second position last year, the University secured the top spot by meeting or exceeding the sector average in each measure used to determine the final results. The University of Sheffield, which topped the ranking last year, dropped to third place while Loughborough University made huge gain by leaping from 11th place to second this year.
University of Cambridge and Oxford complete the top five, reaching fourth and fifth slot respectively, with the two leading institutions scoring in the categories of 'high quality staff/lectures'. Dame Glynis Breakwell, Bath's vice-chancellor, said, "I'm delighted because we have managed a very solid performance across the whole picture. Our students like to be challenged but we also support them to take risks so that they have every chance to achieve their full potential".
The University of East Anglia, which took first place in the 2012 rankings, has fallen again to joint sixth with Surrey, which makes its premier appearance in the top 10, rising from 34th last year.
"This year's results reinforce how much can be achieved by those universities most committed to improving the student experience. The relative stability of rankings between years highlights the remarkable gains made by a few," said James MacGregor, director of 'YouthSight', which provides the data for THE's 'Student Experience Survey'.
Only institutions with more than 50 responses are included in the final rankings, with a total of 113 institutions meeting the minimum sample threshold this year. The measures to determine the results include high quality staff/lectures, helpful interested staff, well- structured courses, good social life, good community atmosphere, good environment on campus and high quality facilities.
The University of Bath also topped the rankings for "best industry connections", while Loughborough University came first for "high quality facilities".
With nearly all UK undergraduates now paying fees of around 9,000 pounds (USD 13,303) at English universities, students are demanding excellence in every aspect of their university experience, from their tutors and courses to the library and sporting facilities.