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Universities: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of education, what discussions they have had with universities about adjusting tuition fees.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Universities offering high quality tuition online will continue to charge fees. Fee loans are being paid directly to the university at the start of the third term.

We are working closely with sector representative bodies to understand the impact of COVID-19 and the immediate financial implications for students and providers. It is important that students continue to receive a good standard of education.

The government has made it clear that, if institutions are unable to deliver adequate online teaching, it would be unacceptable for students to be charged for any additional terms as, effectively, they would be charged twice.  Whether an individual student is entitled to a refund of their fees will depend on specific contractual arrangements between the higher education providers and the student.

In the first instance, students should speak to their university. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by institutions to resolve any concerns. Students who are not satisfied with their institution’s final response can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint if their institution is based in England or Wales.

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