Students Appeal to Competition and Markets Authority Over Tuition Fees

Students’ unions have told the competitions watchdog that they have been “mis-sold” degrees as they demand blanket tuition fee refunds. Camilla Turner, the Telegraph‘s Education Correspondent, has the story.

A group of students’ unions have written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), urging it to “take action to uphold students’ rights” over tuition fees and rent payments amid the pandemic.

The open letter, backed by student leaders at 19 universities across the UK, calls on the regulator to help students asking for blanket fee refunds as a result of COVID-19 disruption.

It urges the regulator to “explain to students how they can prove that the ‘quality’ of their course has not met the required standards for full tuition”.

The letter goes on to say: “Nobody understands what the Government means by poor quality courses, and the language seems to blame the academics delivering courses for lost education when it is the unavoidable result of the pandemic and ‘blended learning’ being mis-sold by universities.”

The student representative also asked the CMA to address the “broken” complaints process for students claiming refunds, and help advise students on their ability to withhold fee payments “if they have lost out” due to the pandemic.

The letter, which has been signed by students leaders from Oxford, Cambridge and a number of other Russell Group universities, says: “Students need an external organisation with no vested interest other than upholding students’ rights to step in and give them the power to seek collective fee justice.

The CMA must act now.” The plea came after the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed that all remaining students in England will not be allowed to return to in-person lessons on campus until mid-May at the earliest.

Most students in England, apart from those on critical courses, were told not to return to campus as part of the lockdown announced in January.

It is estimated that around half of university students in England are not eligible to return to campus for in-person teaching until May 17th at the earliest.

Worth reading in full.

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