I have heard from many of my constituents, currently studying at university, who have raised concerns with their university about the impact the pandemic has had on their learning and their overall experience, and how their institution has responded to these concerns. We know the affect the pandemic has had on services that students have paid for, such as tuition and rented accommodation, and so I completely agree that these are really valid points. This week in Parliament, I called for universities to ensure that students who are raising concerns about having not received services in education or accommodation they have paid for are being dealt with fairly:
I thank my hon. Friend for the extensive time that I know she has personally devoted to ensuring that students from my constituency get a fair deal from their universities, on a case-by-case basis. But given that universities are autonomous and independent of Government, does she agree that the example set by the best universities, which have been very proactive in ensuring students are treated appropriately, should be seen as an example for the others to follow, so that we ensure that all students who have not received the services in education or accommodation they paid for are fairly dealt with by those institutions?
University staff have worked exceptionally hard over the past year to enable students to continue learning, and I want to take this opportunity to once again thank them for that. If students do have concerns, they should raise them with their university, which has a duty, under consumer rights, to have a transparent and timely complaints process. They can then escalate that to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator if they remain unsatisfied.