Coronavirus and higher education students: 25 February to 7 March 2022

The behaviours, plans, opinions and well-being of higher education students in the context of guidance on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Experimental statistics from the Student COVID-19 Insights Survey (SCIS) in England.

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Email Chris Johnston and Rozalia Lis

Dyddiad y datganiad:
21 March 2022

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
To be announced

1. Main points

  • The majority (92%) of students said they had already been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) at least once; not significantly different to late November 2021 (90%).

  • Of the students who had received at least one vaccine dose, 71% reported that they had received the booster vaccination (65% of all students), whereas 28% reported that they had not received one.

  • 7 in 10 (70%) students who had not received a booster dose reported that they were very or fairly likely to have one, or had an appointment confirmed.

  • The majority (91%) of students said they would request a test if they developed COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Over half (62%) of students reported that they would stay at home for at least five days if they developed symptoms of COVID-19; similar to that in late November 2021 when the legal isolation period was 10 days (60%).

  • The average life satisfaction score for students was 6.6 out of 10, which was significantly lower than the adult population in Great Britain (7.0), but not significantly different to 16- to 29-year-olds (6.6).

  • The proportion of students feeling lonely often or always was 17%, significantly higher than the adult population in Great Britain (7%).

  • More than a third (36%) of students reported that their mental health and well-being had worsened since the start of the Autumn 2021 term; a statistically significant increase on late November 2021 (28%).

  • Of students who were enrolled in an educational institution during the 2020 to 2021 academic year, 45% indicated that their academic performance has been better since the start of the Autumn 2021 term compared with the previous academic year.

  • Over one-quarter (27%) of students had received zero hours of in-person teaching in the previous seven days; this is consistent with late November 2021 (24%) but significantly lower than late May 2021 (77%).


The statistics presented are Experimental Statistics, so care needs to be taken when interpreting them. It is worth noting that this survey has a relatively small sample size and low response rate. While this has been weighted and is comparable with previous findings, this has an impact on the level of certainty of this research.

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2. Coronavirus and higher education students data

Coronavirus and higher education students
Dataset | Released 21 March 2022
Experimental statistics from the Student COVID-19 Insights Survey. Includes information on the behaviours, plans, opinions and well-being of higher education students in England in the context of guidance on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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3. Measuring the data

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is conducting a survey analysing student behaviour during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This survey is called the Student COVID-19 Insights Survey (SCIS). University students included are those that are studying on Foundation to Postgraduate level programmes at universities in England.

The survey was conducted between 25 February and 7 March 2022 using an online survey tool and all answers were self-reported. A total of 100,000 students in English universities were invited to take part via their email address held by the National Union of Students (NUS). An email was sent from the NUS with a response rate of 0.7%. We would like to thank the NUS and acknowledge the important role they had in conducting this survey.

At the time the survey was conducted, there were no restrictions to teaching and learning in higher education (HE) providers as a result of COVID-19. More information can be found in the Higher education COVID-19 operational guidance.


Estimates in this report are based on weighted counts that are representative of the population of students studying at universities in England. Population totals are taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) 2019/20 estimates. Estimates are weighted for sex, age and region of university provider.

Uncertainty in the data

The experimental statistics presented in this bulletin contain uncertainty. As with all survey data based on a sample, there is an element of uncertainty as they are susceptible to respondent error and bias.

Adult population in Great Britain

Where possible, comparisons have been drawn with the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to compare the experiences and behaviours of students with the adult population in Great Britain. The comparisons are used to give a broad idea of the different experiences of each group but the statistics measure data from different timeframes, slightly different questions and different sampling methods so are not directly comparable. The period of the OPN used for comparison was 16 to 27 February 2022.

Statistical significance

The statistical significance of differences has been determined by non-overlapping confidence intervals. A confidence interval gives an indication of the degree of uncertainty of an estimate, showing the precision of a sample estimate. The 95% confidence intervals are calculated so that if we repeated the study many times, 95% of the time, the true unknown value would lie between the lower and upper confidence limits. A wider interval indicates more uncertainty in the estimate.

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Chris Johnston and Rozalia Lis
Ffôn: +44 1633 560479