Value for Money
What is this campaign about?
University education has been significantly impacted by the pandemic and students have had a poor experience during this academic year. Whether this means that students who cannot study from home have been left with little option but to struggle through their degree, or that students who have practical/clinical elements of their course have not had access to those as they normally would, it has generally been a difficult year to be a University student. The pandemic has also meant that students cannot access other aspects that are important to the student experience, such as the Library and social opportunities. However, this has not been reflected in the fees that students are being charged- the annual tuition fee for 2020/21 has remained unchanged at £9,250 for UK undergraduate students and much higher for postgraduate and international students.
Naturally, City students and students around the country have found this to be unfair. It is disingenuous for Universities or the Government to pretend that the student experience this year under the pandemic is comparable to previous years.
In principle, the Union believes that education is a public good and should be provided free of charge. However, in the current context, this is not the reality. Universities have become marketised and students are treated as consumers. In those circumstances, students have every right to ask for refunds when they feel that the service that they have been provided is not of an acceptable standard.
What is the purpose of the campaign?
We want the University, the Government and other relevant bodies (e.g. the CMA) to know that students feel strongly about the poor standard of education that students have received this year.
What progress has been made so far?
We have submitted student policy about Tuition fees and have been having conversations with University management about the student calls for tuition fee refunds. We also support the wider NUS campaign Students Deserve Better, which calls for the Government and Universities to recognise the needs of students during the pandemic. We are also aware of a petition that City students have put together calling for tuition fee refunds, rent rebates and better wellbeing support.
Get in touch
If you are interested in hearing more about this work, or want to get involved you can email Saqlain Riaz, President.