Due to the recent rises in tuition fees and the ever more competitive jobs market, more and more students are making formal complaints against their universities. The reasons for these may vary considerably, but essentially they rest on the principle that the university has not discharged its responsibility properly, and has let the student down in some way – affecting their emotional health, causing them financial harm and damaging their prospects for employment.
Some of the most common reasons to appeal a decision include the student being required to withdraw from the course; poor course administration and teaching quality; and poor academic results. There have also been cases of universities not dealing properly with cases of bullying and harassment and failing to make reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities.
All universities are required to have an internal appeals procedures to deal with such issues. In many cases these are entirely adequate and result in satisfactory outcomes. In some cases, however, the results are not satisfactory, and in these instances students may seek legal advice and, if necessary, representation.
An experienced legal expert will know whether the university has followed the proper procedure in carrying out their decision, and whether there are grounds for appeal; in many cases there are mitigating circumstances that may not have been properly investigated or understood by the university. A specialist with a background in education law can help you make your case.
In some instances, there will be grounds for making a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), who has the final say in cases where the university’s internal complaints process has not been helpful. The complaint must be made within 12 months of the university’s Completion of Procedures Letter, which should have been sent to you at the end of the investigation of the incident or episode in question.
Have you been affected by the standards on a university course? Talk to us. We are experienced education and public law specialists and can give you the expert advice you need. Call 0800 999 8662 from landlines or 0330 999 0032 from mobiles.