College students’ associations impact research

Tuesday 30-06-2015 - 00:01

NUS Scotland and sparqs have released a national research report, based on a survey of over 2000 college students, which looks at how students perceive their students’ association, how they interact with them and what students want from their associations. 

This report is the first time that research has been conducted looking at college students’ views around their students’ association, and will provide a foundation, together with the National Framework for Developing College Students’ Associations, for students’ associations to build on their activities and to develop further. 


Headline results

The report showed that students had a good understanding around the purpose of a students’ association: 

  • 75% said representing the views of students to the college 
  • 48% said campaigning on behalf of students’ rights 
  • 42% said protecting students’ rights nationally 
  • 40% said campaigning on funding issues 
  • 39% supporting students with employment 

However, interaction with the students’ association still remained relatively low:

  • Over half (55%) of students didn’t know how they felt about their students’ association or felt indifferent towards it. 
  • 56% had never visited their students’ association
  • Around two thirds of respondents have never voted in their students’ association election.
  • From the survey results across Scotland, students studying Further Education courses are the least likely to be engaged with their students’ association. 


Recommendations and next steps

The report highlights that students knew and understood the representative and campaigning functions of a students’ association, but also provides a number of areas for students’ associations to begin to address to increase students’ interaction with the association.

The data from the report can be used by students’ associations and colleges to inform strategic planning, to begin a discussion around identifying development areas, and to adopt an evidence based approach to setting work and activities. 

To assist students’ associations and colleges with this work, there is a variety of support available in order for students’ associations to improve as organisations, better represent students and therefore improve the student experience and the lives of students. More information can be found in the ‘next steps’ section of the report on page 20.


The full report, analysis of the results and recommendations can be downloaded here. 


NUS Scotland

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college,framework,report,impact,Scotland,Further Education

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