The UK government has made a decision that university students will pay full tuition fees despite their courses been taught online in the autumn.
At the moment all university campuses across the UK are closed and students are learning online until further notice due to the corona virus pandemic.
The decision to reopen campuses for the next academic year has not been made, however universities minister Michelle Donelan says: “as long as the quality of teaching was up to standard, they should still charge full fees.”
She also mentioned: We have already seen the quality in the delivery of courses online and virtually, and know the efforts that staff across the sector have put in to facilitate that.
Senior Lecturer & Researcher at Bournemouth University Melsia Kraftner says: “Of course they have to pay. There will be virtual classrooms and seminars. The lecturers still have to spend the same amount of time (if not more as on-line requires more planning and preparation), there will still be assessments, the IT systems will still need to be managed and supported, students will still have access to tutors, student services, counselling, online resources, etc.. Students save money on transport and accommodation”
However there are a number of unhappy students who feels it is quite unfair to charge full fees for online courses when they have paid to go to university. Jake an Accountancy student at Leeds University says: “There has clearly been no consideration of students with this decision. I pay tuition fees to go to my university in person, to be taught at my university in person, to access the facilities of the university – libraries, societies, sports facilities – in person”.
“Expecting students to pay full fees for a service that they aren’t receiving is frankly insulting,”
Kerdal Tomlin a BA Tourism Management student at Greenwich University said in a voice note “I pay £9250.00 to go to university and not being able to sit in a classroom to have my tutorials and lecture is just not fair.”
Reverting to universities minister Michelle Donelan briefing she said: “We have always said that we don’t believe students would be entitled to reimbursements of tuition fees if the quality is there. Of course, there are processes that they can follow if they feel that the quality isn’t there.”
Dieter Kraftner CIO at Anglia Ruksin University says: “Most universities will offer some blended learning and some courses can never be taught fully online, but ultimately whether virtual or physical classroom, the students are presented with the same material and same learning content. The university needs to employ the same number of Academics to prepare and deliver courses and carry out and mark assessments. IT, Administration and Student Support Services will be provided the same way, regardless of where teaching and learning takes place”
The university sector’s request for a £2 billion bail out as been rejected, and has issued a warning there will be financial dangers with the reduction of students travelling from overseas due to corona virus.
Overseas students makes up a percentage of funds coming into universities and a possibility less students are likely to apply for a place in university due to the covid-19 pandemic.
“UCU general secretary Jo Grady says: ‘This alarming report shows that university staff and students are now staring over the edge of a cliff and desperately need the government to step in and protect the sector. The government’s own analysis puts universities most at risk of financial pain from the current crisis and this report does not take account of other income losses, such as accommodation or conferencing.
‘Our world-renowned universities are doing crucial work now as we hunt for a vaccine and will be vital engines for our recovery both nationally and in towns and cities across the UK. It is vital that the government underwrites funding lost from the fall in student numbers. These are unprecedented times and without urgent guarantees, our universities will be greatly damaged at just the time they are needed most. ‘Instead of kicking the can down the road, the government must underwrite funding lost from a fall in domestic and international student numbers and remove incentives for universities to compete against each other at a time when we need to be pulling together.’