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Student life-after you start

University complaints: What to do

Find out more about university complaints procedures in the UK, what you should expect from your university, and how to take things further if needs be.

Students at university lecture raise hands to ask questions

What should you expect when you get to university?

Once you start university, terms and conditions apply. This means you must adhere to university rules and regulations. 

University rules and regulations should strike a fair balance between the rights and obligations of the university and the student, and not give the university discretion to change a course's cost or content.

How do I complain to my university?

If things go wrong and you feel like the university is not upholding its end of the terms and conditions, you can complain. 

University complaints processes must be fair, transparent and easily accessible to students.

Your university should set out the process to make a complaint, how it will be dealt with, and how you can escalate your concerns. It should also be clear about who deals with complaints, especially if courses are provided jointly with another institution.

What can you do if you're still not happy?

If you're not happy with how your university handles a complaint, you may be able to refer it to an independent complaints scheme. In England and Wales, this is the Office of the Independent Adjudicator or in Scotland, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

What should you check when choosing a university and course?

To help you when choosing your university and course, universities must give you the information you need to make your decision.

This includes the:

  • Course’s content, structure and length
  • Location of study
  • Awards given on successfully completing the course
  • Total cost of the course. This should include tuition fees and any necessary additional costs such as field trips, laboratory equipment or studio/bench fees
  • University's terms and conditions, including rules and regulations and policies relating to student conduct, which must be accessible and clear

Before, or at the latest when you get an offer, universities must tell you about any changes to the information since you applied.

They should give you 'pre-contract information', covering:

  • Course information and costs
  • Arrangements for making payments to the university
  • Its complaints-handling process

Also, any right you have to cancel, should you change your mind.

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