StudentSurvey.ie Interim Results Bulletin 2021
Data from almost 50,000 student survey responses outline the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students in higher education.
Download the full report HERE.
Download the supplementary report from Insight Statistical Consulting on the analysis of the StudentSurvey.ie qualitative data HERE.
More than 80% of surveyed undergraduate and postgraduate students have reported feeling supported by their higher education institution (HEI) in terms of ongoing effective and timely communication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, however absence and loss has been highlighted by many postgraduate research students, who also expressed a need for more funding, more support and more access.
This is according to the StudentSurvey.ie Interim Results Bulletin, which contained the results of nearly 50,000 student respondents across 25 HEIs into the impact of COVID-19 on their experience of higher education.
The Bulletin contains aggregated national results relating to responses to an additional seven questions asked in StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie 2021. These questions specifically addressed the impact of COVID-19 on students’ experience of higher education. These results are separate to the established survey questions, which continued alongside and the results of which will be considered in the annual National Reports to be published as usual later this year.
StudentSurvey.ie asks first and final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students about their experiences of higher education in Ireland, including their academic, personal, and social development. In 2021, 43,791 students participated (national response rate of 28.4%). PGR StudentSurvey.ie invites responses from postgraduate research students. In 2021, 3,541 Masters by Research and PhD students participated (national response rate of 34%).
These surveys are the only ones of their kind in Ireland. The national fieldwork was carried out in February-March 2021, during which time Ireland was in Level 5 lockdown, providing data from nearly 50,000 students across 25 participating HEIs.
Focus on COVID-19
The results demonstrate that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the experience of undergraduate and postgraduate students in higher education in Ireland and highlight their priorities for what needs to be done to support them.
Some highlighted results from the StudentSurvey.ie Interim Results Bulletin:
- 80.8% of first and final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students felt supported in terms of ongoing effective and timely communication, 74.0% indicated that they had a suitable study environment at home (space to work, internet access, computer, etc), and 47.1% felt connected to their HEI despite the restricted access to campus.
- 84.3% of first and final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students reported having adequate online learning opportunities, and 86.3% could access this online learning sufficiently.
- 83.3% of postgraduate research students felt supported in terms of ongoing effective and timely communication, 67.0% indicated that they had a suitable study environment at home, and 57.8% felt connected with their HEI despite the restricted access to campus.
- 35.6% of postgraduate research students reported that COVID-19 had an impact their funding or their ability to fund themselves during their research, and 59.2% reported having adequate access to the on-campus facilities required to engage with their research.
When asked “what are the positive elements of the online/ blended learning experience you want to keep when on-campus studies resume?”, the dominant responses from first and final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students referenced recorded lectures.
Within responses to the question “in what way(s) could your higher education institution improve its support for you during the current circumstances?” the responses from first and final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate student largely focussed on communication, and students’ desire to have more and better communication.
When asked “how has COVID-19 most impacted on your research?” the overall theme for postgraduate researcher students was one of absence and loss. Postgraduate research students have lost time, access to essential facilities and a suitable research environment.
When asked “In what way(s) could your higher education institution improve its support for you during the current circumstances?” the overall theme for postgraduate researcher students was one of need. Postgraduate research students need more - they need more time, more funding, more support, and more access.