As experts call ‘urgently’ for online teaching, students demand tuition and accommodation refund

university lecture hall
Support us and go ad-free

Some 40 universities have reported coronavirus (Covid-19) cases since term began, while thousands of students all over the country have found themselves paying for the privilege of self-isolating.

Scientists have now released urgent guidelines following the increasing outbreaks. Independent SAGE experts argue that there is an “urgent need” to “act quickly and pragmatically”.

They stress that all teaching should immediately be transferred online. They also argue that where online teaching isn’t possible, there should be regular coronavirus-testing for both staff and students.

Accommodation fees should be refunded

The scientists also recommend that universities:

Offer students the choice whether to live on campus / in their university accommodation or at home elsewhere

and to:

Ensure that students who choose to remain at university while learning online maintain the right to return home for the rest of the term at any point, with accommodation fees refunded, and with testing before doing so.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

As coronavirus sweeps through the University of Glasgow, the university has said that it will refund students one month’s worth of accommodation fees.  But this is a pitiful gesture when the spike in coronavirus cases sees no sign of slowing down, and when there is absolutely no sign of university life going back to normal. As universities cash in on tuition fees and rent, it’s unlikely they will decide to give students more substantial refunds on accommodation.

Refund tuition fees now

Meanwhile, if university lectures do go completely online, it’s essential that students are refunded at least some of the extortionate tuition fees that they currently have to pay.

James Yucel is a student at Glasgow University. He co-founded the Refund Us Now campaign. He said:

They dragged us all up to Glasgow under the pretence that it would be ‘blended learning’, as they termed it, which means that some of it would be online and some of it would be in person, which meant that we all came up to Glasgow under the assumption [we] had to be there. Not to mention the international students, who, I know some spent thousands on flights to get to Glasgow, told by the university to come up, and the second they got there, ‘sorry lads, it’s all online’.

Yucel says that Refund Us Now’s aim is to

secure 15% cash refunds for every single student who has been lied to, manipulated, and now subjected to overly-reactive and draconian measures at the hands of their universities and governments.

‘Corrupted by their financial interests’

An anonymous lecturer at a Russell Group university previously pointed out to The Canary that universities are putting money ahead of health. The lecturer said:

Their evidence-based approach has been corrupted by their financial interests. They are endangering staff and students by reopening to ensure that they collect tuition fees and fees from student accommodation… The science is clear, gathering together, even in socially distanced ways, poses huge risks of infection. Indeed, we were told by managers at my university that infections are inevitable. But we are pressing on because universities have decided that their finances are more important than the lives and the health of their staff and students.

Independent SAGE says:

We recognise that our recommendations have financial consequences for universities and for students and we call on the government to support the sector.

As the government and universities continue to prioritise profit over the wellbeing, and even the lives of students, it is essential that we stand behind Yucel and all of the students around the country who are demanding tuition fee and rent refunds.

Featured image via Wokandapix / Pixabay

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us