Further enhancements include a £21 million renovation of the Percy Gee students’ union building that has resulted in a spacious food court and extra multi-use areas. Elsewhere, at Freeman’s Common, the £150 million redevelopment of student accommodation near campus has also added offices, a large lecture theatre and a multistorey car park, with landscaped gardens and tree-lined pathways.
The improvements should serve to lift rates of student satisfaction. In our analysis of the latest National Student Survey (NSS) published in summer 2022, the university fell 20 places to rank 94= for satisfaction with teaching quality and fell 16 places to rank 62= for how students feel about their wider undergraduate experience.
Leicester was in a good position for the pivot to remote learning when university life changed shape during the pandemic, as it already had a suitable infrastructure. The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessors praised these resources when awarding Leicester silver, highlighting the university’s system for filming lectures, which had been introduced in response to student feedback. The TEF panel also congratulated the university on engaging students with the latest research.
Leicester’s main campus and much of the residential accommodation is in a leafy suburb a mile from the city centre. The university’s first overseas venture opened in China in 2017. The Leicester International Institute/Dalian University of Technology, based in Panjin, offers degrees taught in English in chemistry, mechanical engineering and mathematics.
Building on a longstanding commitment to space research, the university recently opened its Space Park. Dedicated to companies developing space technology or using space-enabled data, students are welcomed into its collaborative community of academics and industry partners.
An expanding portfolio of degrees at home had triggered a 24 per cent rise in applications in the 2022 admissions cycle by the end of March 2022, compared with the same point a year before. New degree offerings include finance, journalism and media, journalism and sociology, and sociology with criminology. From 2023, four more new degrees will be introduced: radiography, biological sciences with psychology, economics and data analytics, and English and translation. The university makes effective use of Clearing, recruiting 30 per cent of new students via this route in 2021.
Leicester’s provision of scholarships and bursaries is more extensive than most, benefiting 38 per cent of UK and 63 per cent of international students among 2021-22’s entrants. Awards include the Citizens of Change 100 scholarship — which sets applicants the task of recording and sharing an Instagram Reels — or TikTok-style video of up to 60 seconds responding to the question: What do you want to change? Students with the best videos are awarded fee discounts of £2,500 for the first three years of a course. Widening participation scholarships of £1,000 go to mature students aged 30-plus from low participation postcodes.
Nearly six out of every ten students are from ethnic minority backgrounds (ranking 21) and Leicester has successfully reduced its black attainment gap (15.2 per cent) to rank among the top third of universities. With only 82.3 per cent of students recruited from non-selective state schools, however, Leicester is in the lower half of of the sector. Its performance for social inclusion overall earns 76th place in our analysis.
To widen access, Leicester runs a range of progression programmes — such as Pathways to Law and its in-house scheme AccessLeicester: Medicine and Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — which target and support the progression of students from underrepresented backgrounds in the local area and London. Contextual offers two grades lower than standard may also be made to eligible applicants on most, but not all, courses. Leicester’s dropout rate is lower than expected, given the university’s course and student mix.
Graduate prospects are just outside the top 50 (54th) for the proportion in highly skilled work or further study after 15 months.
Both of the university’s sports centres have a gym, swimming pool, spa, sauna and steam room, and studios. The campus centre also has a sports hall and there are floodlit tennis courts, all-weather courts and rugby pitches at the Stoughton Road playing fields in Oadby.
The university insists on compulsory training for new students on sexual consent and how to help a friend under threat.
Leicester’s award-winning students’ union is the only one in the country with its own O2 Academy. Nights out in town benefit from Leicester’s student-friendly size: not too big and not too small, and relative affordability. First-years who apply by September 1 are guaranteed a space in university-managed accommodation.