Refund students’ rents and tuition fees

To Gavin Williamson, education secretary, and Michelle Donelan, universities minister

The government told students to go back to universities in September last year, but they have been treated appallingly since. Students are not cash cows – they should have their tuition fees and rents refunded.

Within weeks of the academic year starting, students were told to self-isolate en masse. Because of the second wave of the pandemic, universities broke up early before Christmas and most students are still not back to receiving face-to-face teaching.

But despite the serious disruption to their education, students are still required to pay the full tuition fee of thousands of pounds, as well as rent on campus accommodation.

This unfair situation has caused an uproar among students, with international students withholding tuition fees in protest, and students going on rent strikes in January.

Now student leaders from across the country are urging the competition watchdog to take action to uphold students’ rights over tuition fees and rent payments during the pandemic, and we support them.

This is a scandal wholly created by the government. They never should have encouraged students to return or start university in the middle of a pandemic, let alone made the students pay for the privilege.

Now they need to owe up to their mistake and refund the students their tuition fees immediately, and make sure students don’t have to pay for rent for accommodation which they haven’t been able to use.


HIGHLIGHTED COMMENTS

My son and his girlfriend are in tiny student accommodation and having to do their course via zoom. They should be allowed to get their money back from the landlords and study from home.

K, Lancashire

Students should be able to study online and not have to pay rent during the covid crisis.

Olga, Newcastle

This is a consequence of the monetisation of education by successive governments.

Barry, Cheshire

Students should not be incurring debt for this type of experience.

Anne, Yorkshire

Students, lecturers, and cleaning staff, should not be the Government’s Covid guinea pigs, nor should students be milked for rents.

Ian, Birmingham

 

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