The UK legal action group Refund Students has slammed the Government’s announcement that there will be no blanket scheme to reduce tuition fees for 2 million students who have been denied face to face lectures and tutorials because of Covid restrictions.
Speaking in the House of Commons last week, universities minister Michelle Donlan said help would be given only to those who could prove they were hardship cases. She ruled out any possibility that the Government or universities recognise that students have not received the education they are contracted to give to students.
A Refund Students spokesperson said: “It is completely unreasonable that students are having to pay around £3,500 a year more for their courses than they would if they had enrolled with an on-line university such as the OU for exactly the same teaching format.
“They have also had to pay many hundreds of pounds for accommodation that they have not been able to use while they were prevented from living on campus.”
The Refund Students campaign says there is a straightforward case in law for breach of contract that students can bring to get up to £7,000 back for two years of online teaching plus rent payments for the time they were not able to live in university accommodation for which they have paid.
“We are not saying that universities are to blame or have acted in any other way but responsibly in to help to contain Covid, but businesses and workers have received compensation and it is entirely right that students should too. They signed up to courses that have not been delivered and this is a clear breach of contract,’ the spokesperson said.
“Society expects students to pay for their education. This means they have rights as consumers and the right to go to law when they are not getting what they are paying for.”
Refund Students has had just over 6,000 registrations since it was set up at the beginning of the year and has a target of 60,000 in order to mount a group litigation case. Registration is free and no student is required to pay towards the case which is being funded by crowdfunding. Full details of how the case is being run and how to join are available on its website www.refundstudents.org.
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