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Go Back to the List April 07, 2020
Should UK Students Get a Refund this Academic Year?

A  petition has been signed by over 132,000 students demanding that UK universities reimburse students’ tuition fees during strike action that took place this academic year.
With the strikes, and now the coronavirus, preventing students from attending lectures and seminars, we ask three students whether they believe they should be entitled to a refund for this academic year. 
Several universities, including the University of Nottingham, Newcastle University and the University of Reading are saying that they won’t be charging students for their third term of accommodation if they will no longer be staying in university halls, due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

We spoke to Joe Ward, a third-year history and international relations student; Joseph Forrest, a third-year psychology student and Ben Thornbury, to find out their thoughts on a potential tuition fee refund…

Should students be refunded? 
“I don’t think that we should have a refund for the whole year as we have already had the vast majority of teaching” says Joseph, adding “I do think that we should get some reimbursement however – if we ever get to attend graduation, getting that for free would be nice.”

Joe, on the other hand, was unsure; “I don’t know personally about being entitled to a refund, although I appreciate that I am in a stronger financial situation than others, so I believe this influences my decision.”

“I don’t think we should be entitled to a refund, as Covid-19 is not the fault of the university” says Ben. “As long as they are providing work and tutorials in an online system, I don’t see what the problem is – this is a tricky time!”


A smooth transition to online learning?
As the Coronavirus situation worsened, and higher education facilities closed down at the request of the Government, universities only had a maximum of a few weeks to transition to online learning.
We ask students if they believe that universities did enough to ensure that this transition was a smooth one…

“I don’t think they could’ve done much more,” says Joe, “but I do think that the online services on offer are not worth £9,250 a year.” He says, “there is not clear criteria for what lecturers offer, and lectures and seminars vary in their quality.”

How the switch is affecting students’ work quality and grades 
With universities around the world trialling online exams, lectures and seminars, we ask the students whether they think implementing these measures will affect their ability to perform well in academic assignments and exams, and if so, whether this will be enough to impact their overall grades.

Joseph thinks that online exams will impact students’ grades, but not necessarily in a negative way; “online exams are obviously novel, so people may be more anxious about them, however people can generally type faster than they write, meaning that they will be able to write more.”

Have universities done enough?
I think that universities are trying everything they can at the moment” says Joseph. “We are getting daily emails while they work out what will happen, so I think this is okay.”

“I personally think universities have done enough” says Ben, “It’s hard for any education institution out there to switch to online learning so fast without a pre-warning. It’s a learning experience for everyone and online learning will improve drastically while this crisis carries on. Any bugs in the system will be smoothed out.”



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Written by Chloe Lane,
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