To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the refunding of tuition fees paid by students who have had their tuition interrupted as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
Education is devolved and it will be for each administration to determine the actions they wish to take.
We are working closely with sector representative bodies in England to understand the impact of COVID-19 and the immediate financial implications for students and providers, and we are working with universities to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies to the best of their abilities.
The government has made it clear that if universities are unable to deliver adequate online teaching then it would be unacceptable for students to be charged for any additional terms of study, which would effectively mean that they were being charged twice. We only expect full tuition fees to be charged if online courses are of good quality, fit for purpose and help students progress towards their qualification. If universities want to charge full fees, they will have to ensure that the quality is there.
Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of their fees will depend on specific contractual arrangements between the student and their university. Students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support.
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.