Higher Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support students that are dissatisfied with the support provided by their university during the covid-19 outbreak; and what processes are in place for students to obtain a refund if that support has not met the guidelines set out by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

We welcome the series of guides which the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has published to support providers to secure academic standards and to support student achievement during the outbreak.

The government expects universities to continue delivering a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value.

We are working with the Office for Students (OfS) to make sure all reasonable steps are being taken to enable students to continue their studies to the best of their abilities. Where it is clear to the OfS that reasonable steps have not been taken by providers, the OfS has a range of sanctions at its disposal.

The OfS has published guidance on student and consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out that providers must make sure students can access complaints processes which are accessible, clear and fair.

If students have concerns, they should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

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