Record number of complaints about universities
By Sarah Wood
The number of student complaints about university courses in England and Wales hit a fourth consecutive record high in 2022.
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) received 2,850 complaints last year - 3% up on 2021 - and £1,050,114 was awarded in compensation, as reported by the BBC.
But Universities UK, which represents 140 institutions, said the vast majority of students leave their courses with very positive experiences.
Just under a quarter of the complaints in 2022 related to the pandemic, compared with more than a third in 2021.
2022 saw a rise in complaints relating to academic appeals, after universities ended policies protecting students' grades from disruption. These complaints made up 38% of the total - an increase from 29% in 2021.
Complaints about service issues, like teaching, also represented 38% - down from 45% in 2021.
A quarter of complaints to the OIA in 2022 were classed as "justified", "partly justified" or were settled in the student's favour.
A group of more than 400 students received a total of £640,000 in compensation.
The OIA said 2022 was another difficult year for both students and universities - with higher levels of distress among students and growing pressure on providers, making it more difficult for them to support students effectively.
While only a small number of complaint last year related to industrial action, there could be more complaints about it in 2023, due to university staff walking out in February and March.
A marking boycott has just begun at more than 140 institutions, which could delay results and graduations, and there is a threat of further strikes.
Universities UK said the OIA report helped universities understand where and how to improve and, while most students had positive experiences, some dissatisfaction was to be expected.
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