On Monday 15 February, Guild Council, the representative body within your Students’ Guild, voted in favour of campaigning for tuition fee compensation.
Following a number of students raising this issue with Guild Council, your Full-Time Officers and College Officers discussed whether students have received value for money this academic year. Your student representatives have been listening to you and believe that most students feel they have not received a satisfactory education experience this year.
While no two students’ experiences are the same, it is undeniable that the pandemic has - in many different ways - prevented students from getting the education they deserve and were promised. Exeter is proudly a research-driven institution – that is why many students chose to come here. But fieldwork has been cancelled; access to labs, studios, libraries, and resources that are essential to students’ academic work has also been restricted. While many students may be satisfied with the quality of blended teaching they receive, teaching is only one part of an education.
While we believe that the majority of students have not had a sufficient education experience, we stress that this is not the fault of academics and staff. We want to recognise how so many of the educators, researchers, and professional services staff have worked incredibly hard (and often above and beyond) while facing their own stresses and struggles due to the pandemic. We know many of them are as frustrated with the situation as much as we are. Unfortunately the regrettable reality is that students were promised more than what turned out to be deliverable.
Your Students’ Guild will now establish a working group to explore in detail how best to campaign. The issue of tuition fees is complex – no one solution will work for home and international students, undergraduate and postgraduates. This will likely involve lobbying on a local and national level and working with grassroots and established campaigns. If you want to get involved or have your say, get in touch with Penny Dinh – VP Education, who is leading this work!
Your Students Leaders said…
Explaining her vote, Hope Francis, College Officer for Life and Environmental Sciences, commented: “Today I voted on behalf of CLES students in favour of lobbying the University and Government to provide a form of compensation to students this academic year. I believe that although the University has made considerable efforts to move teaching online unfortunately the current standard of teaching delivery and university experience does not meet the requirements and expectations of students in my college. The service we pay £9,250 for is not currently worthy of such a cost and therefore, I am supporting the movement for tuition fee refund or loan forgiveness.”
Penny Dinh, VP Education, said: “As your representative, I support the call for financial compensation for students as it will relieve financial stress for students who lose out the most by paying tuition fees up front rather than taking out a loan. By that I mean International students – who pay much higher fee, mature students who retrain and migrants who are unable to access student loan, and postgraduate students. I look forward to collaborating with national campaigns, especially the Students United Against Fees campaign, in lobbying for money back in our students’ pocket.”
Motion passed by Guild Council: Guild Council believes that students have not received value for money this academic year so far and are therefore due compensation. Guild Council requests that the Guild establish a working group to determine a campaign which addresses different types of tuition fee arrangements.