University complaints rise as high fees see students demand more for their money

St Peter's Campus, Sunderland University
St Peter's Campus, Sunderland University
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THE number of students complaining to their universities has risen since the introduction of tuition fees.

According to figures from the University of Sunderland, between 2012/13 there were 33 complaints and 34 appeals made by students.

From these, less than a quarter – 16 – were upheld.

As a result of this, fewer than five compensation/goodwill payments were made by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, totalling less than £2,000.

At a national level, more than 20,000 students complained to their universities last year.

The spike is believed to be caused due to students demanding more for their £9,000-plus tuition fees.

One of the reasons for Sunderland’s relatively low figures could be due to their below-average fees, with the university charging between £7,000 and £8,500 a year.

A spokesperson for the university, said: “The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring our students have an excellent academic experience during their time with us, and any concerns are robustly addressed by our academic services department and, most importantly, students feel well supported.

“Placing such a great deal of importance on the life-changing experience we offer to our 17,000 plus student population is reflected in the low number of complaints. In 2010/2011, before future fees arrangements were introduced by the Coalition Government, there were 27 appeals and 18 complaints, of which six were upheld, and no compensation/goodwill payments were made.

“We will continue to maintain our high standards of education, ensuing our students are supported with any outstanding issues, and continue to have access to the best opportunities once they’ve graduated.”

Durham University had fewer than five complaints from undergraduates for 2012/13, no change from the previous year, while it has dealt with 47 appeals.

The largest number of appeals and complaints in one full year was at Anglia Ruskin University, where the total in 2012-13 was 992.