Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has encouraged students to apply for refunds on courses if they are unsatisfied.
Ms Donelan said students should “absolutely” apply for refunds, adding: “They are consumers, at the end of the day. They’re paying a substantial amount of money that’s an investment in their own lives. They deserve that appeal right.”
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Ms Donelan said there had been “tens of thousands” of refunds issued to students by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator during the pandemic.
She also criticised universities that have not returned to face-face-face learning, high vice-chancellor salaries and “mickey mouse” courses.
Today is a big day for quality in higher education. For the first time, we are setting minimum standards on drop-out rates and progression to graduate jobs - so that every student gets a fair deal.https://t.co/tzJjR5XHkc— Michelle Donelan MP (@michelledonelan) January 20, 2022
“I have had to really say to vice-chancellors, you need to ensure that you are delivering on what you promised to students because, as the Prime Minister outlined, we’ve got to learn to live with this virus now.
“We’ve got to get back to pre-pandemic life. Risk assessments can’t be used as an excuse not to host face-to-face teaching. Students have been leading the way in the [vaccination] stats.”
Ms Donelan said she would not defend some vice-chancellor salaries, which she called “eye-watering and staggering”, and said drop-out rates for some courses were as high as 40%.
“Universities try to entice pupils to the front door and say that’s social mobility. Actually, that doesn’t help anybody,” she said.