Universities told to refund half of fees over strike failings

UK universities that did not do enough to mitigate the impact of last year’s pensions strike on students’ learning have been ordered to refund about half the value of the teaching hours missed. Times Higher Education reports.

The rulings by the sector ombudsman for England and Wales, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, potentially open the door to more payouts for students who are still locked in disputes with their universities linked to the 14-day walkout over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Publishing a fresh batch of case summaries on 14 May, the adjudicator set out how it had considered whether universities had made efforts to mitigate the academic impact of lost teaching and whether they had tried to make up for lost learning opportunities.

Where providers were judged to have not gone far enough, the OIA’s “starting point” was to recommend that they refund 50 per cent of students’ tuition fees for the affected period.

Most universities have “gone to some lengths” to ensure that students were not academically disadvantaged, said Felicity Mitchell, the independent adjudicator.

But some “have been better than others” at finding ways to make up for the learning that students have missed out on, by providing lecture recordings and podcasts, for example.”

In one of the newly published summaries, an international student on a one-year master’s programme complained about missed teaching hours, and the OIA recommended that the university offer to refund £1,284 in tuition fees.

Read the full article Universities told to refund half of fees over strike failings

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