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Require universities to reimburse students' tuition fees during strike action

Submitted by Miriam Helmers on Thursday 5th March 2020

Published on Wednesday 11th March 2020

Current status: Closed

Closed: Friday 11th September 2020

Signatures: 136,749

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

concerns ~ Parliament ~ Strike ~ Universities

Petition Action

Require universities to reimburse students' tuition fees during strike action

Petition Details

The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.

Additional Information

Students must pay fees in full even when academic support and lectures are permanently lost due to strike action. Doing right by the students will force universities to address the concerns raised by employees, hence preventing future strikes. We urge Parliament to demand that universities reimburse the fees corresponding to refused services. It is a tactic on the side of justice making the universities realise that they are not a business but ultimately a service for the betterment of society.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 21st April 2020

Strike action is a matter for Universities to address, not Government. We expect universities to make efforts to replace lost learning or financial compensation if appropriate.

Students rightly want a good deal for their investment in higher education. If any student is affected by strike action, universities are expected to take appropriate action and consider their obligations under consumer law and students’ consumer rights. This includes ensuring that a range of appropriate remedies and mitigations are available, to prevent or minimise the effects of any strike action upon their students, which may include making efforts to replace lost learning opportunities, or financial compensation.

The Government believes that students should be at the heart of the higher education system. The Office for Students (OfS) was set up to regulate the higher education sector in England, protect student rights and ensure the sector is delivering real value for money. It has provided guidance for students affected by industrial action. They expect providers to do all they can to avoid disruption for students, to abide by the conditions of registering with the OfS and to maintain the delivery of higher education.

Students are entitled to make a complaint about the way their university handles any disruption caused by industrial action, should they feel their experience has been adversely affected. In the first instance, students should speak to their university to see if they can resolve their complaint. If this is not possible or if they are unhappy with the outcome, they can take their complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA covers student complaints concerning higher education providers in England and Wales and has published guidance on their approach to complaints and case studies indicating good practice and the type of compensation or remedial action they have previously recommended in this area. Case studies published by the OIA in 2019 indicate that financial compensation was recommended in a number of cases.

Department for Education

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300528)

Parliamentary Debate

This petition has reached the threshold for a Parliamentary debate, but the debate has not yet been scheduled.

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