STUDENT satisfaction in Scottish higher education has hit record levels, a new survey shows.

A national poll showed 87 per cent of students are happy with their chosen course, up one percentage point on last year and better than the UK average of 86 per cent.

St Andrews University, in Fife, was rated by its students as the best in Scotland with 93 per cent of its students saying they were satisfied. The ranking also means St Andrews is one of the top three universities in the UK for teaching and the quality of the academic experience it offers, according to the National Student Survey, ahead of Cambridge and Oxford.

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Glasgow University, which was joint sixth in the UK and second in Scotland with a satisfaction rating of 91 per cent was the only other Scottish institution in the overall top ten.

However, students at Edinburgh University were less happy with their course with 82 per cent saying they were satisfied. One of the lowest ratings was at Glasgow School of Art where just 80 per cent said they were satisfied.

Professor Lorna Milne, St Andrews vice-principal, said: "If St Andrews students are among the most satisfied in the country it is really down to two things - our superb staff who work very hard to provide the best education they possibly can and the students themselves, who clearly appreciate being challenged to achieve excellent results."

Pat Mathewson, president of St Andrews Students' Association, added: "These results stand as an ongoing testament to the sense of community we share here in St Andrews, and the extraordinary dedication of countless individuals towards enhancing the student experience."

Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University, also welcomed the improved rating for the institution. He said: "It is very encouraging that our students continue to rate their experience at the university so highly and it is particularly rewarding to see such a significant increase in our overall satisfaction rate.

"I know that staff at the university are committed to providing a top-quality education and to ensuring that Glasgow continues to offer one of the very best student experiences available."

Robert Foster, vice-president education of student body NUS Scotland, said the annual improvements institutions were making was a credit to the hard work of lecturing staff, although he warned satisfaction for clarity of marking schemes was still too low at 74 per cent.

The survey canvassed around 265,000 final-year students at UK higher education institutions. Students were asked to respond to over 20 questions on topics such as teaching, personal development, assessment and feedback, learning resources and management.