Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

This petition closed on 29 Jan 2021 with 270,659 signatures


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Recent Documents related to Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19

1. The Post-18 Education Review (the Augar Review) recommendations
31/05/2019 - Parliamentary Research

Found: lifetime learning 10 3.7 Supporting disadvantaged students 10 3.8 Ensuring those who benefit from higher

2. Accelerated degrees: widening student choice in higher education
19/11/2018 - Office for Students (OfS)
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3. Accelerated degrees: widening student choice in higher education
19/11/2018 - Department for Education
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Found: Accelerated degrees: full analysis of responses 15 Questions 1 -9 17 Question 10 19 Analysis 19 Question 16

4. Funding higher education
26/02/2018 - Parliamentary Research

Found: Student loan interest rates FAQs Higher education tuition fees in England Abolition of maintenance grants in

5. Higher education tuition fees in England
25/06/2018 - Parliamentary Research

Found: Number 8151, 25 June 2018 Higher education tuition fees in England By Sue Hubble (Social Policy Section)

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19

1. Tuition Fees
16/11/2020 - Westminster Hall

1: Petitions Committee, Session 2019–21, The impact of Covid-19 on university students, HC 527; Third Special Report - Speech Link
2: 306494, 324762, and 552911, relating to university tuition fees.It is a pleasure to serve under - Speech Link

2. Higher Education (Fee Limits and Student Support) (England) (Coronavirus) (Revocation) Regulations 2020
29/10/2020 - Grand Committee

1: the higher education sector in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. One such measure was the introduction - Speech Link

3. Support for University Students: Covid-19
03/02/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: (Paul Blomfield) is an assiduous campaigner for students and has spoken to me many times on the topic. - Speech Link

4. Support for University Students: Covid-19
08/02/2021 - Lords Chamber

1: (Paul Blomfield) is an assiduous campaigner for students and has spoken to me many times on the topic. - Speech Link
2: pandemic, I have been working with the universities to prevent students from getting into hardship. We have - Speech Link
3: flexibility in how they distribute the funding to their students in a way that is best prioritised to meet the - Speech Link

5. Higher Education (Fee Limits and Student Support) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020
02/07/2020 - Lords Chamber

1: Lords, we have all seen the devastating impact of Covid-19 around the world. Recovering from this will take - Speech Link

6. Science Research Funding in Universities (Science and Technology Committee Report)
09/09/2020 - Grand Committee

1: open this debate on science research funding in universities. I thank all noble Lords most sincerely for - Speech Link

7. Oral Answers to Questions
12/10/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: levelling up opportunities for all. Our £1 billion covid recovery package includes a £350 million national - Speech Link
2: the benefits that they will have throughout their life are significant, with an increase of 10% of average - Speech Link
3: Educational attainment depends very much on the quality of the teachers. In Scotland, teachers must attain - Speech Link
4: announced today. What assessment has been made of the students who missed learning over the past six months in - Speech Link
5: hours from the sector at pre-covid levels, even if providers had closed due to the pandemic. Some 708,000 - Speech Link

8. Students’ Return to Universities
29/09/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: make a statement regarding the return of students to universities. Throughout this pandemic, our priority - Speech Link

9. Oral Answers to Questions
22/06/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: children in disadvantaged areas already facing “limited life prospects” by the age of five; the attainment gap - Speech Link
2: the 2021 exam season from May to July, to allow students and teachers more time in the classroom to complete - Speech Link
3: raises an important point about providing more teaching time. That is why we will consult Ofqual on how - Speech Link
4: headteachers across Ashfield who want to get back to full service as soon as possible. One way to begin to - Speech Link

10. Oral Answers to Questions
07/09/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: democracy, and universities should always do as much as possible to champion it, ensuring that students, staff - Speech Link
2: that is what we will do. But it is not just at universities that we sometimes see a challenge to free speech - Speech Link
3: is taking to support universities accepting higher numbers of domestic students as a result of the recent - Speech Link
4: is taking to support universities accepting higher numbers of domestic students as a result of the change - Speech Link
5: taking to help universities increase the number of places available to students in 2020-21. [905512] - Speech Link
6: majority of students who want to go to university this year can do so at the university their grades - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19
1. Universities: Coronavirus
asked by: Stella Creasy
07/05/2020
... whether universities that have closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak will require their students to pay their fees in full.

2. Students: Fees and Charges
asked by: Claire Hanna
15/01/2021
... what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing tuition fees for the 2020-21 year to compensate students for the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their university studies and experience.

3. Overseas Students: EU Nationals
asked by: Daniel Kawczynski
09/11/2020
... will need to arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 to be eligible for a student loan and home student status.

4. Supply Teachers: Coronavirus
asked by: Daisy Cooper
29/01/2021
... whether schools are expected to pay for ongoing supply staff engagements and not terminate those engagements early and require those staff to seek state funded support.

Latest Questions

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The UK Government should care because thousands of UK and international students studying in the UK are going to be going into debt for an education that might not be worth the amount of money universities are asking for. Students should get the chance to experience university life in full, with access to societies, opportunities and chances to network. Many benefits of attending University have been taken away by Covid-19, there is so much more to University than the academic side.


Top 50 Constituencies by Number of Signatures

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Government Response

Higher education providers must deliver high-quality courses. If students are unhappy, they should first complain to their provider, or the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education


Government recognises the challenges facing students and supports them in their desire to continue receiving the best possible learning experience from our higher education (HE) providers. During this unprecedented period, where it is not possible to provide face-to-face learning in a COVID-secure environment, we expect HE providers to offer high-quality online education that allows students to progress and to complete their studies within the time period they had been anticipating.

There are some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning being delivered by HE providers across the country. The sector has put in significant resources and worked hard to provide and prepare learning materials for this academic year. We expect that HE providers will be open for the autumn term, combining online teaching and in-person tuition in ways that they consider appropriate which minimises risk.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees, up to a maximum of £9,250 for Approved (fee cap) providers. In deciding to keep charging full fees, universities will of course want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and help students progress their qualifications. Any refund would be a matter for universities, so we are not considering a write-off of tuition fee loans.

We believe that students should be at the heart of the HE system. The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has committed to protecting students throughout the present crisis whilst ensuring that quality and standards are upheld. The Government’s expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained, and the OfS has made it clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high quality, students are supported and achieve good outcomes, and standards are protected. The OfS has published information and guidance for providers and students, and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has also published a series of guides to support providers to secure academic standards and to support student achievement during the pandemic.

Government has been clear that we expect providers to ensure that continuing and prospective students receive the clear, accurate and timely information needed to make informed decisions. This includes making them aware of any potential for changes at the earliest opportunity.

The Government has been in close communication with partners in the HE sector and to help providers make informed decisions about their provision and, on 10 September, the Government issued updated guidance to the HE sector on reopening campuses and buildings. The Government will continue to work closely with the QAA to ensure students continue to leave HE with qualifications that have real value, reflect their hard work and allow people to progress.

The Government’s clear expectation is that HE providers should make all reasonable efforts to enable students to complete their studies. If providers are unable to facilitate adequate online and in-person tuition, they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms they may need to undergo as a consequence – avoiding effectively charging them twice. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student.

It is important that students continue to receive a good standard of education, and they are entitled to make a complaint if they feel that their HE provider has not taken sufficient steps to appropriately respond to this situation. In the first instance, students should speak to their provider to see if they can resolve their complaint. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly, and sympathetically by providers to resolve any concerns. If a student at a provider in England or Wales is not satisfied with their provider’s response, they can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) to consider their complaint.

Finally, Government has worked with the OfS to enable providers to draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers were able to use OfS Student Premium funding worth around £23m per month for April to July this year and £256 million for academic year 2020/21 starting from August towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Government is in the process of responding to a report published by the Petitions Committee on 13th July 2020, relating to the impact of COVID-19 on HE students.

Government has previously responded to a petition concerning tuition fee refunds for both COVID-19 disruption and strike action. The response can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/302855

Department for Education


MPs spoken contributions during 16 Nov 2020 petition debate