If your degree course has been changed, for example, an increase in fees or a change made to the course location, the first thing to do is check your contract.
You will need to read the contract terms and conditions to make sure you know what you signed up to.
There are two main things to check:
If you think a change has been made to what you agreed in your contract, or you think your university or course provider is relying on an unfair contract term, you can make a complaint to your university.
Regardless of what your contract says, think about what your university or course provider told you about your course before you signed up.
It’s important that you follow the formal complaints procedure of your university or course provider.
Your course provider's website and handbook should explain how to do this. Your students’ union may also be able to help and provide support.
Try and detail as clearly as possible what the course change is that you are complaining about and what effect this change will, or has, had on you.
Set out any terms of your contract that you believe are being breached or that you think are unfair.
Make sure you keep copies of all correspondence with your university or course provider and keep a record of the dates of this correspondence.
You must first progress through your course provider's complaints procedure.
If your provider is a member of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), you should be given a Completion of Procedures Letter which will detail their findings.
If you think you have followed the relevant complaints procedure and have not received this letter, you should write and request one from the person or department who is handling your complaint.
If you're told that you have not completed the procedure, you should ask for clarity on how to do so.
The OIA is an independent organisation whose role is to review individual complaints by students against universities.
It doesn’t have any regulatory powers and cannot punish or fine the university or course provider.
However, if the OIA thinks your complaint has merit, it can recommend that the university takes steps to address your problem including by paying you compensation.
Universities have to abide by the OIA’s rules and follow its recommendations.
You can complain to the OIA by filling in an OIA Complaint Form online or by downloading it. You can also request the form by email, telephone or post.
Any complaint made to the OIA must be received by them within three months of the date of the Completion of Procedures Letter.
Further education and sixth-form colleges - teaching anything from foundation to postgraduate courses, as well as some school-based teacher training courses are also covered by the OIA.
If your course provider isn't a member, the OIA should be able to suggest other organisations that may be able to help you.
For example, a professional body if you're taking a professional course, a student body if there is one affiliated to the provider, a support agency if you're a student from overseas, or potentially the British Accreditation Council if the provider concerned is a member.