Students Demand Tuition Fee Refunds Over Planned Strike Action
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Students are demanding a refund in tuition fees after lecturers are set to go on strike later this month.
Hours after the strikes were announced a petition was started calling for students to each be reimbursed hundreds of pounds for lost teaching and learning time.
This news comes after a number of institutions were forced to pay compensation to students over missed teaching hours when universities were brought to a standstill last year by strikes.
Thousands of students, who pay up to £9,250 in tuition fees a year, are facing disruption to their lectures and seminars for the second time during their degrees.
Katie Medlin, who set up the petition, hopes students at other universities will take similar action.
“We hope to inform the student body of the strikes and why they’re happening and gain support for our striking lectures,” the master’s student told The Independent.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will hold eight days of strike action at 60 universities across the UK due to disputes over staff pensions, pay and working conditions.
As well as the eight strike days, union members will begin other forms of industrial action when they return to work. This will include working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.
Elaena Shipp, another student at Bangor University behind the petition, tweeted: “If universities want to run themselves like businesses and treat students like customers, that cuts both ways - customers who don’t get what they pay for are entitled to a refund.”
Regarding compensaton, Nick Hillman, director of think tank Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), said: “I think they have every right to seek redress for teaching they do not receive.
“But it is a more complicated question than many people realise. For example, it is not clear how much each lost hour of teaching is worth and, given that taxpayers still cover much of the cost, perhaps we are all owed a refund just as much as the students?
“Students demanding refunds make the strike even more serious for institutions rather than less.”
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