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Tution Fee Refund?

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    Hi,

    I couldn't afford to travel into university (1 hour away by train, 12 quid return) last semester as me and my wife ran into some serious financial difficulties. Applying for ALF took too long and I had to pay my own tuition fees (for reasons entirely out of my control), and the university wouldn't let me restructure tuition fee payments to them, despite me explaining my problems with them honestly and trying to be reasonable with them.

    So it basically meant my attendance last semester was close to 0%.

    However, I have started getting results back for modules I didn't turn up to at all in the last semester and it turns out I have got a 1st and the other a very high 2.1 (69% overall).

    While I am absolutely delighted at these grades (actually i'm ecstatic as I thought I was doomed to failure), I can't help but feel a little bit ripped off after spending £1,500 this semester out of my own pocket on tuition fees when I didn't actually get any tuition whatsoever, yet still got the highest grade possible (in one module so far at least). This money was also hard earned working on minimum wage for months prior to my course, which makes it an even bitterer pill to swallow.

    I am wondering if anyone with legal knowledge knows if I have any grounds for getting at least a partial refund of my tuition fees for this semester? Obviously, to get a 1st for a module I didn't once turn up to does make me feel that the teaching is substandard, because I am not by any means a genius (I have to emphasise this point), and/or I am not getting my monies worth here. Either way, something is wrong and the £1500 isn't really justified.
    I must also emphasise that I didn't find it a walkover - I did actually put A LOT of work into assignments at home (50 hours per essay and project easily) and found it extremely challenging. I do not want to say what university or what degree programme it was at this point as I don't want to open a whole can of worms if this gets out. I will only say it's a degree that leads directly to professional qualification and not a 'mickey-mouse' degree.

    I would feel even more angry if I was paying the new tuition fees as it would likely be £4500 down the drain, but it's bad enough it being £1,500.

    Many thanks
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    To be honest, I think they work on the idea that your money goes towards providing the study space and on employing someone to stand there and lecture. I don't think they really care about whether it was you, or their teaching which achieved the good results.

    Regardless of whether or not you took advantage of it, the uni still paid for that space, and for those lecturers to stand there and talk, so I'm not sure how successful you'll be.

    That said, I have no legal knowledge. I'm sure a law student could give a better response.

    I hope you get something sorted out, though.
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    Although I have no knowledge of the law, my personal opinion is that the university provided the lectures for you and it was up to you whether or not you turned up. I assume they will wash their hands of any resons relating to finance, as they have nothing to do with it. If it was on medical grounds you may have a case, but imo from what you've said you won't have a leg to stand on - especially as you still got good grades.
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    That's fine, but the fact I got very decent grades despite not using the facilities or lectures surely suggests that the teaching and facilities are not having any bearing on student grades, effectively rendering them useless and/or substandard.

    There are only really three possible explanations for how a student can not turn up for a whole semester and have next to zero contact with the university yet still attain 1st class grades:

    1. The course is just too easy. This would be extremely concerning as the degree in question leads to a professional qualification with very high social responsibility.
    2. I am just very intelligent - a genius even. As much as my ego wishes this were the case, I know it's not!
    3. The teaching is just so poor that it has no bearing on what grade the student will get.

    I mean, what would happen if the tables were turned and I didn't turn up and failed? I would probably be withdrawn on the grounds that I failed due to a direct result of my attendance. They would keep the tuition fees.
    But how can they kick people out on attendance if people are getting 1st class degrees when not even attending? Suddenly attendance being used as grounds for withdrawal are made redundant by default in this case.

    I understand that it is the client (i.e student) who has a choice on whether or not to use the services they provide in exchange for tuition fees. However, when they do not choose to use them and fail they get kicked-out and the university keeps the tuition fees regardless. Yet in contrast when a student chooses not to use them and gets a 1st he/she doesn't have the right to receive a refund. Why? I do not see how their position is even possible to defend since the evidence is in the grades (a 1st) and attendance. You cannot use attendance to kick people out yet then turn around and say attendance doesn't matter because it's the clients choice on whether he/she uses the university facilities or lectures or not.
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    (Original post by Pablo Sevilla)
    Yet in contrast when a student chooses not to use them and gets a 1st he/she doesn't have the right to receive a refund. Why? I do not see how their position is even possible to defend since the evidence is in the grades (a 1st) and attendance. You cannot use attendance to kick people out yet then turn around and say attendance doesn't matter because it's the clients choice on whether he/she uses the university facilities or lectures or not.
    Their stance will probably be that you took up the place that they could have offered to another student who also paid and did use the services.

    I do see where you're coming from, and perhaps in your particular circumstances your feelings are justified, but the actual lectures are only part of what your tuition fee gets spent on.
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    Their argument will be that if you had gone, you wouldn't have had to put so much effort into working at home. Also, your tuition fees aren't just to pay for lectures - if you had exams they pay for those, or the assignment marking etc. Basically, they're the cost of getting the degree so if you want the degree, you pay. Stop being silly.
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    (Original post by Pablo Sevilla)

    1. The course is just too easy. This would be extremely concerning as the degree in question leads to a professional qualification with very high social responsibility.
    2. I am just very intelligent - a genius even. As much as my ego wishes this were the case, I know it's not!
    3. The teaching is just so poor that it has no bearing on what grade the student will get.
    or 4. Different people have different learning needs and whilst some need lectures and/or personal tutors, others learn equally well from reading books ... you say yourself that you worked extremely hard ... one would assume that the tuition element would have lessened some of that work by providing some analysis of relevant texts and the opportunity to discuss material
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    My advice to you is try the open university, much easier for everything when you have commitments.

    You won't get any refund though. It is your choice if you attend lectures or not, they met their obligation by putting you on and marking your modules. That's it, there is no official contract of what they will provide, so you can't get them for failing to provide anything.

    I am still being chased by angla ruskin for tuition fees after I withdrew after 1 term when I found out they had put me on a 4 and not the 3 year course I had signed up to do and refused to put me on the 3. That is getting nasty now as I am NOT paying for it.

    But your case is different, I have a signed bit of paper that says 3 year offer, not 4 but it is still a total nightmare. You have nothing to show what they guaranteed to offer you.

    I know life is hard, work, uni, family life balancing together is hardwork, there is little understanding or support for mature students when it omes to finance problems at uni. But ultimately it isn't their fault you couldn't afford to attend, and you wont be entitled to a refund.

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