Over 295,000 students have signed a petition demanding that they are reimbursed for this academic year’s tuition fees.
The petition statement demands that: “All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250.
“Lastly, the extended strikes of this year have severely disrupted student-staff interaction and personalised help, with staff not replying to emails or available for meetings. Grading is also being delayed.”
Following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities have moved teaching to online, and summer assessments are also set to be moved online.
For some students, the extended strikes have led to few to no contact hours during term time.
We aren’t even able to access the resources that our tuition fees pay for such as study space, libraries and field trips, to name a few
– Sophie Quinn
Sophie Quinn, a final-year Geography student at Liverpool University, who started the petition, said: “Our year has been cut short with a lot of us still expected to adapt and meet our deadlines that we have been given regardless of having to change projects, revision or dissertations.
“Of course, university is a place of independent learning but now we aren’t even able to access the resources that our tuition fees pay for such as study space, libraries and field trips, to name a few.
“I do not blame the universities and mine in particular is trying very hard to adapt and continue our education but it can’t be disputed that online learning along with long industrial action, does not warrant £9,250 that we will have to pay back.”
The petition statement also writes that: “There is also no need for accommodation which students have paid between £4,000-£8,000 for in advance and adding to their student debt.”
The National Union of Students (NUS) has published three open letters to the providers of student accommodation across the UK, and has also asked for the government to enforce these demands through bans.
NUS asked providers to implement their five demands to protect students during the crisis.
These demands include asking landlords to offer students a no-penalty early release from their tenancy contracts for the current and next academic years and to end all evictions for the duration of the crisis.