Pressure Builds For Tuition Fee Redress As Students Awarded Compensation

Rory Beveridge

The university experience in the past year has been far from what we all imagined. Seminars and lectures have been relegated online, with many having many fewer contact hours than promised. Despite the apparent reduction in teaching, the cost to students remains the same.

Nevertheless, there may be reason to hope, as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), which regulates student complaints, has released the details of the outcome of several student grievance procedures. One particularly interesting case saw an unnamed university being ordered to pay £5,000 to an international medical student. The undergraduate claimed that they had been deprived of vital experience due to cancelled placements.

Separately, a student was returned £1,500 after coronavirus restrictions prevented a lab-based placement from going ahead. Another was compensated £200 due to the impact of the industrial action in 2019 and coronavirus crisis; many complaints were rejected, however.

The government says that students should “first complain to their provider, or the OIA, if they have legitimate grievances

This comes as a group of university Vice-Chancellors called for interest to be scrapped on student loans for 15 months. The discussions surrounding tuition fees are ongoing, with the government saying in September last year that students should “should first complain to their provider, or the OIA”, if they had legitimate grievances.

There was a further debate in parliament on this topic in November after a petition reached over 270,000 signatures, but this yielded little progress. The government is seemingly reluctant to change its position on student loans, and it’s probable that most students will have to pay the full amount for their courses, despite the lack of engagement.

Amidst the suffering caused by pandemic, it appears that the financial woes of students have been disregarded by those in power.

Rory Beveridge

Featured image courtesy of Ivan Hernández via FlickrImage license here. No changes made to this image. 

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