Last year, the higher education watchdog in England and Wales received a record number of complaints from university students, who expressed concern about “increasing levels of distress among students who are struggling to cope.”
In 2022, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) received 2,850 complaints, its highest number ever and an increase of 3% from the previous year. These complaints led to total compensation of over £1 million.
Students from England and Wales
Students can only make an appeal to the OIA if they have tried all of their school’s internal procedures and are still unhappy. As per its yearly report for 2022, 25% of grumblings were legitimate, halfway legitimate, or got the comfortable blessing of the understudy.
The watchdog found that complaints about academic appeals of grades and assessments increased significantly, going from 29% in 2021 to 38% in 2022. On the other hand, complaints about teaching, course delivery, and supervision decreased from 45% to 38%.
In addition, the OIA recommended compensating a group of distance learning students who claimed that the course did not live up to their expectations, as stated in the marketing materials. It also said that there were more complaints about sexual misconduct and harassment, but the numbers were still small.
The National Union of Students vice-president for higher education, Chloe Field, stated: The crisis in the cost of living and skyrocketing rents have many students at their breaking point. It is nothing unexpected the OIA has gotten a record number of grumblings.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education stated: Even though there have been more complaints, it is encouraging to see that the OIA is working to solve these problems, as evidenced by the fact that more complaints have been resolved than ever before in the past year.