Student Compensation and Refund Policy
1. Definition and scope
1.1. The Student Compensation and Refund policy, which is allied to the University’s Student Complaints Procedure, addresses how decisions regarding tuition fees, other course costs, accommodation costs, sports memberships and other relevant costs are compensated or refunded to University of Leicester students or their representative where applicable.
1.2. Within the scope of this policy is compensation or refund to students where necessary, in the event that:
I. Continuation of study is not preserved at the registered location and
II. Where the University has not met adequate standard of education, support or service.
1.3. Compensations and refunds are not to be relied upon in the first instance to settle disputes and complaints but are integrated within the Student Complaints Procedure and are an outcome from this process. Read more information on the Student Complaints Procedure.
1.4. Financial compensation will not always be an appropriate outcome to complaints raised and an alternative non-financial outcome may be appropriate.
1.5. A refund relates to the repayment of sums paid by a student or on behalf of the student to the University or an appropriate reduction in the amount of sums owed in future by the student to the University. This could include tuition fees, other course costs, accommodation costs or sports memberships.
Compensation relates to some other recognisable loss suffered by the student. This normally falls into two categories, either: (a) recompensing the student for out of pocket expenses they have incurred, which were paid to someone other than the university or (b) an amount to recompense for material disadvantage to the student arising from a failure by the University to discharge its duties appropriately.
1.6. This policy applies to all registered students on a programme of study leading to an award by the University of Leicester. Students are required to lodge a complaint within 3 months of the matter of complaint occurring or within 3 months of their award date whichever is sooner. The outcome of which could be a refund or award of compensation.
1.7. There are separate and specific refund policies and terms and conditions for tuition fees, accommodation and sports membership which are applied should the service be withdrawn. These are agreed by a student when they complete their registration or contract for that service.
1.8. Read the refund policy for tuition fees.
1.9. Read the accommodation terms and conditions.
1.10. Read the Sport Memberships terms and conditions.
1.11. When making decisions on refunds and compensations the University will ensure the responsibilities and duties in the following areas are complied with:
- Statutory responsibilities
- Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA)
- Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA)
- Registration with the Office for Students, Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)
- Sector-wide responsibilities:
- Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) and/or Quality Assurance Agency ( QAA) guidance
- Institutional responsibilities:
- Ensuring consistency with institutional regulations
2. Decision making
2.1. Compensation or refunds will be considered following informal or formal complaints being raised or submitted to the University. In the first instance, the University expects that problems will be speedily and effectively dealt through local departmental or professional services either in person, writing or phone. If attempts to resolve the matter informally have not been successful students may submit a formal complaint by completing the Complaints Form.
2.2. Individuals wishing to apply for compensation are required to complete the Student Complaints Procedure. In line with the complaints procedure, students can submit a group complaint but each complainant must complete a separate complaint form and specify the remedy they seek.
2.3. Following the submission of an individual complaint, either informal or formal, if the decision affects multiple students a separate, streamlined process that is consistent with the Student Complaints procedure may be offered. Those students affected will be informed and if they are dissatisfied with the decision can make a complaint through the Student Complaints Procedure.
Should the University make a decision that affects multiple students, in the interest of fairness, as individual circumstances can be different, the University reserves the right to not make a group decision.
2.4. Decisions will be based on evidence available at the time, and will be recorded.
2.5. Factors that may be taken into consideration when determining the complaint could include the following:
- Whether specific undertakings been given to the students by the University for the way in which the course or service is delivered;
- Whether a failure to deliver against material information agreed with the students at the point of acceptance of the offer occurred;
- Whether a period of prolonged disruption jeopardised the ability to offer education in a manner that ensured students had a fair and reasonable opportunity to develop appropriate levels of understanding required for the programme;
- Consideration as to whether the student met their own responsibility to minimise losses;
- Whether processes were followed in accordance with University policies and procedures;
- If the student has been affected in relation to:
- final degree award
- accreditation award
- Whether the student can demonstrate that despite alternative arrangements being offered the student is still disadvantaged as the alternative arrangements are insufficient.
- Whether the student is in receipt of a scholarships, bursaries or discount to support their education and/or living expenses
- Financial expenses incurred/lost when evidence has been demonstrated, for example, payment of additional travel costs for students affected by a change in the location of their course
- Maintenance costs and lost time where it was not possible to preserve continuation of study
- Tuition and maintenance costs where students had to transfer courses or provider as a direct consequence of a failure of the University to fulfil its contractual obligations to the student
2.6. Non-financial remedies may include an offer of alternative learning methods if the course cannot be delivered in the way it was originally intended, allowing the student to repeat the part of the course that did not meet the required standard, or a formal apology.
2.7. The Investigating Officer will facilitate any approval and instruction of compensation or refund being issued. Compensation or a refund up to the value up to £1,000 can be agreed by the relevant Senior Officers (Service Director, Head of Department or Pro-Vice-Chancellor) as well as a member of the Senior Leadership team in the Division of Finance. Where the value is up to £5,000, approval by two Senior Officers will be required in addition to a member of the Senior Leadership team in the Division of Finance. Where the value is above £5,000, approval from the Academic Registrar and the Director of Finance must be obtained or their appointed nominee.
2.8. Any compensation or refund given will not affect the student’s eligibility to receive a University of Leicester scholarship or bursary whilst registered as a student at the University.
2.9. Individuals will receive written and comprehensive explanations as to the approved decision as part of the complaint outcome in the timeline outlined in the Students Complaints Procedure.
2.10. All decisions will be recorded, monitored and reported as part of the student complaints procedure.
3. Issuing the Compensation or Refund
3.1. The Service Director or Head of Department will ensure the delivery of the non-monetary compensation or refund.
3.2. If the student has a debt outstanding, the option of reducing this liability will be considered first.
3.3. If the student is being funded by the Student Loan Company (SLC) and a refund of tuition fees is agreed, the University will notify SLC of the reduced fee being charged
3.4. Where appropriate, compensation or refunds will be made to the original payee, (who may not be the student) by the original method of payment. If this is not possible payment will be made by bank transfer.
3.5. Partial or full refunds will be made within 14 days when all parties are in agreement that a refund is due.