The Complete University Guide

Performance measures: Hert, soul and cash to splash

The University of Hertfordshire has excelled for its spending on student facilities

The tables on how each university performed on the nine measures show Cambridge at the top of three tables, and Oxford and Imperial College London leading two. No particular surprises there then.

You would expect Cambridge to do well on research assessment, student satisfaction and entry standards. And you are probably not surprised that Oxford came top for good honours degrees and course completion, and Imperial College London for graduate prospects and spending on academic services.

The fact that University College London has the best staff student ratio, followed by Imperial College and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) confirms again the dominance of the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London.

The big surprise is Hertfordshire's position at the top of the table for spending on facilities such as careers services, proving that "new" universities can outperform "old" ones. In Hertfordshire's case, the money was spent on sports services and a computer network.

Buckinghamshire New University, the former Buckinghamshire Chilterns University, which is in the table for the first time, also did well on facilities spending, coming in at number four.

All 113 universities are assessed on a range of nine measures in The Complete University Guide but some measures are given more weight than others. Two of the measures – student satisfaction and research assessment – are given a higher weighting than the others to reflect the importance that these have in the life of a university. So, a university that does badly in one of these two will find their position more adversely affected than if they did badly on one of the other seven.

But the indicator that really upset the apple cart was student satisfaction. Bottom of the student satisfaction table is the prestigious University of the Arts, London, which contains all the capital's foremost art colleges such as Chelsea, Central St Martin's and the London College of Fashion. It may be that art students are more awkward than others, given to complaining about their lot, but its position does not inspire confidence and may possibly act as a deterrent to overseas students.

Some highly-rated "old" universities also came low down in the student satisfaction league table, including Manchester (10th from bottom), Edinburgh, Sussex and Nottingham. Expect a concerted effort by these institutions next time round to find out what their students were complaining about and to put that right.

Bernard Kingston, who is responsible for compiling the table, says that some universities are really taking the league tables very seriously now. "They have set up little groups to see how they can improve their performance," he says.

One university in this category is Leicester. Aware of the importance of league tables, university vice chancellor Professor Robert Burgess pulled out all the stops to ensure that his institution did as well as it possibly could. The result has been positive. Leicester has shot up eight places, and students seem to appreciate the effort made. On student satisfaction, Leicester comes third, after St Andrews, which is in second place.

Another university to make a conscious effort to burnish its reputation is Exeter. Under its vice chancellor Professor Steve Smith, the university invested in new academic staff and new student facilities. The result is that it comes fifth for student satisfaction, and is now placed 17th in the main table.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksNow available in paperback
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Assessor / Trainer

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Manager - London - £200 p/d.

£190 - £200 per day: Ashdown Group: Payroll & Finance Manager - Covent Garden,...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need