Skip to main content

Student Academic Experience Survey (SAES)

The annual Advance HE-HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey shows how full-time undergraduate students rate their time in higher education and their attitudes towards policy issues that impact upon them.

Gain unique and essential insights into the student academic experience

SAES has been designed and developed in partnership with the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and with interviews conducted independently by YouthSight. The survey:

  • Helps you better understand student expectations, perceptions and their experience of learning and teaching
  • Provides key facts and insights to help you improve the student academic experience
  • Plays a key role in influencing policy at a national level

Over 15,000 full-time undergraduate students participate in the Student Academic Experience Survey annually. Respondents are drawn from the YouthSight student panel, which is made up of over 78,000 undergraduate students in the UK. Since its launch in 2006, it has had a significant impact on policymakers particularly as demonstrated in the 2015 higher education green paper and the 2016 higher education white paper.

In particular, the survey illustrates where universities can take action to shape and meet the expectations of students in terms of their teaching and learning experience.  

Buff line

Student Academic Experience Survey 2024

Developed by Advance HE and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), the Student Academic Experience Survey (SAES) has been tracking the the reality of student life since 2005/06.


Read the report
Front cover of SAES report 2024
Buff line

Final Reports

Our Survey takes place at the same time each year among a directly comparable undergraduate sample, enabling us to measure genuine like-for-like changes. The 2023 survey, which took place between 16 January and 16 March 2023, focuses on key issues such as value for money during a cost of living crisis and the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on student satisfaction.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Perception of receiving good or very good value-for-money has risen slightly, from 35% to 37%.
  • The proportion of students whose experience exceeded expectations increased from 17% to 19%.
  • The proportion who would choose the same course and institution again remains similar at 58%, compared to 59% in 2022.
  • There has been a clear uplift in the number of students in paid employment, from 45% to 55%.
  • The average number of hours per week spent in class, fieldwork or studying independently has risen from 30.7 to 33.4.

The findings along with previous years’ reports can be downloaded here.

Other surveys

Working with the Insights team

Advance HE’s Insights team is made up of experienced mixed-method researchers and experts in implementing surveys and other techniques for data collection. Our expert team can provide, qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods offers, underpinned by sector-wide datasets from our student surveys and our sector leading higher education statistical reports. Whether you’re a sector agency, institute, university or another organisation with a higher education offer we will work with you to help higher education be the best that it can be. 

Find out more