Today I’m launching an inquiry with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for students, a cross-party group of MPs and Peers that I chair, to investigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students’ tuition and accommodation, and the case for compensation. I’ll be working on the inquiry with APPG Vice-Chairs Lord David Willetts, Alison Thewliss MP and Caroline Lucas MP.
Over the last ten months, universities have sought to maintain the best possible learning experience for students through the difficult and changing circumstances caused by the pandemic. However, there is some feeling from students that the offer has fallen below their expectations with regard to teaching and learning, access to facilities, and to resources.
There is also a specific concern about rent payments, acknowledged by the Prime Minister, from those who are contracted to pay for accommodation that they do not need due to Covid-19 restrictions as of 4th January.
Since the introduction of the further national lockdown this week, there has been growing pressure for some form of financial compensation. Our inquiry aims to examine the case for compensation, taking account of the widely varying experience faced by both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and to consider how it might be addressed.
Many students have lost an essential component of their income, through the lack of part-time work available in the hospitality and retail sectors. The Government has provided additional hardship funds to support students in need and suggested that those who are dissatisfied with their experience should raise the issue with their institutions, or through the Office for Students.
This is a deeply complex issues, with students affected in very different ways, between universities, courses and other circumstances – so the APPG would be very grateful for all thoughts on these issues.
Universities, sector groups and accommodation providers are invited to submit written evidence regarding:
- The impact of the pandemic on students’ tuition and/or accommodation
- Views on compensation and how this might be funded and delivered
- Any other action that should be taken to address students’ concerns
This should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘APPG Students Inquiry – Organisation Name’ by 9am on Monday 18th January.
Students’ Unions and students’ representatives are invited to fill in this form, also by 9am on Monday 18th January.