Sussex students have written an open letter demanding a review of tuition fees

It comes after much of the teaching has been moved online

After nearly a year of disruption to studies due to Covid-19, students at the University of Sussex have demanded a review of the tuition fees they are currently paying.

An open letter, which now has over 1,300 signatures, was sent to the Vice-Chancellor, where students state that their university experience has been “tarnished by poor management, empty promises and a hefty debt”. Despite the university saying that they are committed to helping students’ “[progress] with their learning”, the letter has claimed the current blended learning approach is not “engaging”.

The Instagram account BrightonBanter is run by students at the University of Sussex and was responsible for helping the letter grow in size and accumulating such a large number of signatures. One of the students who manages the page told the Argus that their “studies have been significantly negatively impacted, with Zoom calls having many technical difficulties.”

With most learning taking place on online platforms such as Zoom, they reported that students are finding it “very hard to stay concentrated in your home environment and seminars and workshops are awkward with little to no interaction.”

Students from the UK are currently paying £9,250 for tuition in the 2020/2021 academic year, with international students having to pay a considerably larger amount. This letter and its accompanying petition is demanding that this is reviewed by the University and reduced.

A spokesperson for the University replied saying that they understand that there has been “huge disruption” to students’ experience this year. They claimed that despite this, in the first three weeks of term “30 per cent of our teaching activities have been delivered in person: in classrooms, lecture theatres, laboratories and in one and one sessions”.

The spokesperson went on to say that the University has committed to providing “11 hours of live, interactive learning for each model during this semester”, and that they “understand the huge disruption that so many students have faced during the whole of 2020”. They understand that it “is undeniable that Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on students”.