The National Union of Students (NUS) today welcomes a Which? investigation that reveals some universities use terms that could be breaching consumer law.
The investigation saw Freedom of Information Act requests to universities across the UK asking for their policies on making course changes after students have signed up.
Based on the information universities provided, half of universities were found use terms that give them freedom to change courses even when these changes could have been prevented. Of these, one in five use terms that were considered to be unlawful and in breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and three in 10 use terms that we consider to be bad practice and likely to be unlawful.
Megan Dunn, NUS vice president (higher education), said: “This report highlights our valid and long standing concerns about fairness and protections for students. We have always said that the ways that universities can currently dramatically change – or sometimes entirely close – courses during a students’ studies is completely unacceptable. A student who has applied to study a specific subject in good faith should not be left in the lurch due to the whims of the university.
“Institutions should deliver education to students on fair terms, and they must also provide, to the best of their ability, the experience and the outputs that were promised to students.
“There needs to be a transparent and frank conversation to resolve this practice where it happens.”