University of Reading vice-chancellor rejects union plea for tuition fee refunds

The University of Reading will suspend all face-to-face teaching from Wednesday.

NO REFUNDS will be offered for tuition fees this year, said the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading.

Responding to an open letter from the student union officer team, Professor Robert Van de Noort said the institution had adopted a “blended learning approach” that was designed to be flexible with home learning.

The union officers had called for a part refund on the annual £9,250 fee, but this was rejected by the university.

Professor Van de Noort said support services, and campus facilities such as the Library, study spaces and catering had also continued to operate.

Those unhappy with their education were asked to contact their academic tutor first, before raising a formal complaint.

In their letter, the union officers called for support for students renting in the private sector, a commitment
to upholding graduation ceremonies when possible, and a no detriment policy to support student grades.

Professor Van de Noort said he has written a letter to landlords, which will soon be circulated. Adding he was working on “flexible mitigation arrangements” to support students in their exams.

But he did not comment on the possibility of graduation ceremonies happening.

Following Professor Van de Noort’s response, union officers said they understood students were not satisfied with the answers given.

In a statement, they said: “We want to ensure that no student is worse off, financially or academically, as a result of Covid-19.

“We understand that Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact on learning outcomes and that more money and support will be needed to close that gap for students.

“We will collate individual and overarching student concerns to raise to senior members of the University Executive Board, while continuing to lobby the government.”

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