We've been hard at work pressuring the government and the University based on what you told us in December about tuition fees. We were always under the impression that it would not be a simple task, but a long, arduous, journey that we would be undertaking. So, here's our latest breakdown of where we are with our 5-point-plan and our next steps.
1. Approach the University with a view to get student tuition fees refunded for term 1, or reduced for term 2
We have done this, and the University have categorically declined. You can see the Vice Chancellor’s response and our own response to the University here. We are, however continuing to pressure the University to be more transparent about where fees go and what your tuition money goes towards.
2. Contact other Students’ Unions in the UK to establish a national campaign around tuition fee refunds
This has been completed: 45 Students’ Unions got on board with 81 individual signatories
3. Write to Members of Parliament to pressure the UK Government on the nationwide issue of university tuition fees during COVID-19, and the feeling that students are not getting what they were promised
We have written to Michelle Donelan MP (Minister for Universities) and Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Education) with demands to support students through the pandemic, and we are awaiting a response: alongside 45 other Students’ Unions from up and down the UK, with 81 individual signatories. See the letter here.
And we want you, friends and family, to put more pressure on the government to commit to supporting students through the COVID-19 crisis. Please see this letter template which you can use to write to your local MP. You can find their details through this page.
4. Contact the Office for Students (OfS) and the Department of Education with the aim to further support students nationally with financial and emotional challenges that students are facing across the UK and the world
In our letter to Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Education) we demanded that students are further financially and emotionally supported with increased funding to NHS Mental Health and increased funding to Universities to provide financial aid to all students. Further to this, we will be sending a similar letter to the OfS to apply further pressure.
Next we will be focusing on point 5, 'Raise awareness nationally about this problem and the impact it has on our members, through the media.'
We also recognise that accommodation costs is one element that is negatively affecting a great number of students. We are happy to see the University continue to be flexible around accommodation they own and for them to write to Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) providers in the local area to do the same and not charge students rent for places they cannot access. In addition to this Molly, SU President, has written to all SU Homes landlords to ask them to consider providing rent reductions and rebates to students who cannot access their accommodation and offer the option to pause or be released from their contract early.