Student gets given a £2,000 tuition fee refund because of the Covid-19 disruption

But just one in 30 students who asked for Covid fee refunds actually got any money back

One student has been given a £2,000 fee refund by their uni after complaining about the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet stats obtained by The Tab show just one in every 30 students who asks for a fee refund actually gets any money back, despite the fortunes of the lucky Derby student.

Four Coventry students have also been given £1,125 refunds after complaining.

York, Coventry, Surrey, Kingston, and Derby are the only unis so far to have given refunds, but over 420 students across the country have already asked for compensation over the disruption.

The low success rate raises questions over the system the government has put in place for students. The government opposes a blanket refund for students, so the only way to claim money back is by first going to your university, and then escalating things to the OIA – the university ombudsman – if you’re unhappy.

Speaking in the House of Commons, universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “There is a system in place that can help. First, a student should pursue the official complaints procedure at their university. If they remain unsatisfied, they should go to the OIA. That can lead to some form of tuition fee refund.” Complaining to unis offered them chance to quickly resolve complaints in ways that don’t include refunds, she added.

However, two universities – Cardiff and Brunel – say they are outright refusing to give any tuition fee refunds to students unhappy with the Covid disruption.

Critics say the process is too complicated – a criticism likely to be exacerbated by the fact students are being made to go through a step which has just a two per cent success rate.

In fact, excluding Derby, just 1.6 per cent of students trying to get a refund for the Covid disruption have had any money back.

Of those that did, Kingston offered a partial refund, Surrey has given one refund with two still pending, and fewer than five of the 18 students who asked York for a refund were successful. All three universities refused to say how big the refunds actually were.

Derby gave refunds totalling £6,691 to seven of the nine students who have asked for one.

A whole host of unis don’t know how many refunds they’re giving out, and Oxford Brookes refused to say if it had given any refunds, arguing that doing so would prejudice ongoing complaints.

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