Today it was revealed that universities in England and Wales paid more than £400,000 in compensation to students last year due to complaints that were taken to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).
The OIA is an independent body set up to review student complaints and provides a free service to students from Higher Education Institutions in England and Wales. It was established when the Higher Education Act 2004 required the creation of an independent body to run a student complaints scheme.
It has been reported that in 2014, 2,175 cases were examined by the OIA and of that number, 500 went in favour of the students, which equates to just under a quarter of the cases. The OIA recommended in 200 of those 500 cases that the universities involved should provide compensation for the students.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said in a statement that “The shift in England from public funding to increased fees means that students are understandably, and rightly, demanding more from their university courses.”
Cases in which students successfully receive compensation as a result of the OIA’s recommendation vary. One case involved a dispute in which a student had missed part of her exam because of an administrative fault. As a result of the university’s error, she was award financial compensation.
Students who have been involved in protests, and objected to how their university had controlled the situation, were also among those who filed complaints. Furthermore, every year the organisation receives complaints from victims or alleged perpetrators who go the OIA due to what they perceive as the university’s mishandling of those cases.
(Image source: BBC)