YOUNG VOICES

More Than 20,000 Students Complained To Universities In ONE Year. But Apparently It's A Good Thing..

03/06/2014 14:34 BST | Updated 03/06/2014 17:59 BST
Kolett via Getty Images

Universities are now upholding an excess of 20,000 complaints from students - more than ever before - new research has revealed.

More than 100 institutions responded to an inquiry made by the BBC, in which students expressed their dissatisfaction with their courses. The figures reveal that complaints and appeals to universities were 10% higher in 2012-13 than in 2011-12.

The student's complaints were concerned with their grades, and that their expectations of university courses content and structure had not been met.

After tuition fees tripled in price - rising from £3,000 to £9,000 a year - it seems UK students now feel they deserve more from their universities. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "The increase in complaints comes alongside a massive increase in fees and some students and their parents might now expect more bang for their increased buck.

"Universities spend plenty of money on marketing, but substance is always more important than style. Universities need to clarify exactly what students can expect from a course and what is expected of them."

The most appeals recorded was at Anglia Ruskin University. Nearly 1,000 students appealed to the university regarding academic issues in 2012-13.

A spokesperson for the university said: "The vast majority were academic appeals where students queried assessment marks or submitted late notification of mitigating circumstances they believe could have affected their performance in an assessment task.

"Our process is more generous than other universities."

Universities minister David Willetts welcomed the findings, saying: "If there are more complaints because students are more aware of what they should expect of funding and are more demanding, then I think that's a good thing. When there's a fee of £9,000, the university is obliged to show what they're doing and provide a decent service."

In light of the findings Anne Carlisle, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Falmouth University comments: "With the rise in tuition fees, students are very conscious of obtaining value for money from their universities, and are very rightly becoming increasingly vociferous in complaining if their education experience doesn’t live up to the promise.

"The responsibility lies with universities to deliver value for students, placing their experience first and foremost above all other priorities, including research. To give students the best chance of finding employment on graduation, courses have to keep up with the pace of change in the industries they serve, and the overall experience must equip students with the personal attributes essential for hitting the ground running in the world of work."