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More than 150,000 students sue their universities over online teaching during the pandemic


  • The students want a partial refund that could cost the sector up to £765million

More than 150,000 students are taking legal action against their universities over online teaching during the pandemic.

They claim education chiefs breached their contractual duty to provide in-person teaching and facilities.

The students want partial refunds of around £5,000 – the typical pre-pandemic difference between the £9,250 in-person degree fee and an online one. It could cost the sector up to £765million.

Their claims are being handled by law firms on a no-win, no-fee basis. The first case, against University College London, is likely to go ahead over the next year. It was paused last summer when a judge gave parties eight months to come to a compromise, but negotiations were unsuccessful.

The students want partial refunds of around £5,000 ¿ the typical pre-pandemic difference between the £9,250 in-person degree fee and an online one. It could cost the sector up to £765million (Stock Image)

The students want partial refunds of around £5,000 – the typical pre-pandemic difference between the £9,250 in-person degree fee and an online one. It could cost the sector up to £765million (Stock Image)

The first case, against University College London, is likely to go ahead over the next year

The first case, against University College London, is likely to go ahead over the next year

Canadian Maiah Thompson, 20, spent 16 months unsuccessfully chasing refunds of her £32,100 international fee through existing channels.

She told The Times: ‘It wasn’t what I was promised. I signed up for a world-famous university, not Zoom lessons.’

UCL vice-provost Professor Kathy Armour said she was disappointed lawyers had ‘flatly rejected’ alternative resolution routes, adding: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we prioritised the health and safety of our whole community and followed Government guidance.’



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