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MPs to debate petitions relating to university tuition fees

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On Monday 16 November, MPs will debate e-petitions relating to university tuition fees. Chris Evans MP (Islwyn), member of the Petitions Committee, will lead the debate. The Department for Education will send a Minister to respond.

Require universities to reimburse students’ tuition fees during strike action

The petition, which has more than 136,000 signatures, states: “The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “Strike action is a matter for Universities to address, not Government. We expect universities to make efforts to replace lost learning or financial compensation if appropriate.”

Reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19

The petition, which has more than 353,000 signatures, states: “All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “HE providers must deliver high quality courses.

If students are unhappy they should first complain to their provider and if their concerns are unresolved they can ask OIA to consider their complaint.”

Refund university students for 3rd Semester Tuition 2020

The petition, which has more than 111,000 signatures, states: “As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their education at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “HE providers must deliver high quality courses.

If students are unhappy they should first complain to their provider and if their concerns are unresolved they can ask OIA to consider their complaint.”

Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19

The petition, which has more than 218,000 signatures, states: “The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “Higher education providers must deliver high-quality courses. If students are unhappy, they should first complain to their provider, or the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.”

Lower university tuition fees for students until online teaching ends

The petition, which has more than 164,000 signatures, states: “As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “The government has been clear that protecting the UK’s right to regulate in the public interest and protecting public services, including the NHS, is of the upmost importance.”

The debate follows the publication of the Committee’s report on this issue in July, which quickly became one of the most read select committee reports of the last 10 years. The report called on the Government to take urgent action and review the support for universities and students in the face of the “greatest challenge they have faced for generations”.

The report followed an inquiry where tens of thousands of students raised concerns that they had not received a reasonable standard of education due to Coronavirus. During the investigation, the Committee also heard evidence on how the outbreak has impacted in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those on more hands-on courses where students need to use university facilities.

In its response to the report, the Government accepted that students should be able to take action if they are unsatisfied with their university’s response to the pandemic. However, the Government rejected the Committee’s recommendation for a new centralised system which enables all students to easily seek a full or partial refund of their tuition fees, or to repeat part of their course.

The debate will last 90 minutes, and will provide opportunities for MPs to question Government Ministers directly on these issues. The debate will take place in Westminster Hall from 18:00, and will be available to view onParliament TV.

Petition details

  • ‘Require universities to reimburse students’ tuition fees during strike action’ – view on petition signature map.
  • ‘Reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19’ – view on petition signature map.
  • ‘Refund university students for 3rd Semester Tuition 2020’ – view on petition signature map.
  • ‘Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19’ – view on petition signature map.
  • ‘Lower university tuition fees for students until online teaching ends’ – view on petition signature map.
  • Any Library Briefing Papers for this debate will be available here.

Follow the debate:

Where in the country were these petitions signed?

The top 10 parliamentary constituencies that supported the petition ‘Require universities to reimburse students’ tuition fees during strike action’ are as follows (as at 10 November 2020):

Constituency

MP

Signature Count

Sheffield Central

Paul Blomfield MP

2028

Brighton, Pavilion

Caroline Lucas MP

1990

Bristol West

Thangam Debbonaire MP

1652

Manchester Central

Lucy Powell MP

1532

Liverpool, Riverside

Kim Johnson MP

1419

Cardiff Central

Jo Stevens MP

1353

Leeds Central

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

1335

Bath

Wera Hobhouse MP

1332

City of Durham

Mary Kelly Foy MP

1222

Nottingham South

Lilian Greenwood MP

1170

The top 10 parliamentary constituencies that supported the petition ‘Reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19’ are as follows (as at 10 November 2020):

Constituency

MP

Signature Count

Brighton, Pavilion

Caroline Lucas MP

3067

Sheffield Central

Paul Blomfield MP

3005

Manchester Central

Lucy Powell MP

2796

Holborn and St Pancras

Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP

2744

Leeds Central

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

2591

Coventry South

Zarah Sultana MP

2482

Bethnal Green and Bow

Rushanara Ali MP

2440

Nottingham South

Lilian Greenwood MP

2295

Bristol West

Thangam Debbonaire MP

2145

West Ham

Ms Lyn Brown MP

2110

The top 10 parliamentary constituencies that supported the petition ‘Refund university students for 3rd Semester Tuition 2020’ are as follows (as at 10 November 2020):

Constituency

MP

Signature Count

Sheffield Central

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Paul Blomfield MP

1290

Manchester Central

Lucy Powell MP

903

Holborn and St Pancras

Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP

731

Cardiff Central

Jo Stevens MP

729

Bristol West

Thangam Debbonaire MP

703

Brighton, Pavilion

Caroline Lucas MP

674

Nottingham South

Lilian Greenwood MP

629

Colchester

Will Quince MP

540

Bath

Wera Hobhouse MP

525

Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Luke Pollard MP

515

The top 10 parliamentary constituencies that supported the petition ‘Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19’ are as follows (as at 10 November 2020):

Constituency

MP

Signature Count

Manchester Central

Lucy Powell MP

1360

Newcastle upon Tyne East

Rt Hon Nicholas Brown MP

1176

Leeds Central

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

1146

Leeds North West

Alex Sobel MP

1131

Sheffield Central

Paul Blomfield MP

1027

Portsmouth South

Stephen Morgan MP

1008

Liverpool, Riverside

Kim Johnson MP

945

Brighton, Pavilion

Caroline Lucas MP

891

Manchester, Gorton

Afzal Khan MP

883

West Ham

Ms Lyn Brown MP

869

The top 10 parliamentary constituencies that supported the petition ‘Lower university tuition fees for students until online teaching ends’ are as follows (as at 10 November 2020):

Constituency

MP

Signature Count

Liverpool, Riverside

Kim Johnson MP

1830

Brighton, Pavilion

Caroline Lucas MP

1630

Nottingham South

Lilian Greenwood MP

1621

Bristol West

Thangam Debbonaire MP

1557

Leeds Central

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

1437

Manchester Central

Lucy Powell MP

1353

Nottingham East

Nadia Whittome MP

1319

Sheffield Central

Paul Blomfield MP

1289

Newcastle upon Tyne East

Rt Hon Nicholas Brown MP

1286

Holborn and St Pancras

Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP

1066

 

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