The usual suspects dominate the top five places in The Times Good University Guide, with Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE and UCL all performing well.
The Oxbridge duo head the table by an increased margin over last year, with UCL hanging on in 5th place behind Imperial and LSE.
What the numbers say
According to The Times, Imperial has the highest spending on facilities per student and the second-best job prospects, slightly trailing Cambridge. The largest differences between Oxbridge and Imperial come in entry requirements and the percentage of students graduating with "good" honours degrees. Ten percent fewer Imperial students graduate with a first or upper-second than at Cambridge, where nearly 85% leave with the top degree classifications.
Oxford graduates have the lowest job prospects of the top five, however benefit from the highest spending on library and computing facilities. Graduates who went on to jobs which do not require a degree, such as flipping burgers in fast-food chains, were not counted in the job prospects figures.
Instead of a teaching quality assessment, this year sees the guide incorporation of the National Student Survey's results, which polls final year university students for their opinions on teaching, support and personal development opportunities at their university. Imperial performed badly in the survey, having the lowest satisfaction score in the top 35.
With top-up fees coming into effect from October, student satisfaction scores will be closely scrutinised. Lack of consultation with the student body on issues such as building on the Queen's Lawn does little to help matters in this area.
The results of the survey are based mostly on data collected between 2001 and 2004, with some universities not taking part in the National Student Survey after their student unions voted to boycott it. Once again, London Metropolitan University refused to have their results published prompting the The Times to ask what they have to hide.