– Support for legal action includes students from Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, and Exeter
– University of Kent and University of Manchester top the list with most student sign-ups
Universities could face compensation claims for millions of pounds as it has been revealed that the first 1,000 students have joined the class action to claim compensation from universities for teaching time lost during the recent strike action. Achieving 1,000 sign ups means that the group claim has a sufficient number of students to apply for a Group Litigation Order.
Analysis of the first 1,000 student sign ups from the University Compensation website – the site set up for students interested in joining the group action to reclaim part of their tuition fees – found that the top five universities with the most student sign ups are:
– 13% (127 students) The University of Kent
– 9% (88 students) – University of Manchester
– 6% (63 students) – University of Bristol
– 6% (58 students) – Kings College, London
– 6% (58 students) – University of Nottingham
The analysis also reveals that over a quarter (27%) of sign-ups are overseas students, and students from most of the UK’s most prestigious universities are involved, including: Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Durham, Exeter, and Imperial College London. In total, 17% (165) of students have signed up from the most highly ranked Universities, by number of sign ups, based in London (Kings College, SOAS, Goldsmiths and Queen Mary).
To date, more than 100,000 students have signed petitions protesting against the loss of lectures and other classes they have paid for through tuition fees.
Shimon Goldwater, a senior solicitor at Asserson, a specialist law firm in high value litigation, that has created the compensation claim website, said: “No other service provider would get away with charging for 25 weeks of a service and cutting that to 22 with no price reduction. There is no question that universities owe students fair compensation.”
“If the class action is accepted, universities would pay out millions of pounds. Over 20,000 undergraduates attend each large UK university. Paying approximately £500 compensation each to 20,000 students would cost £10 million.”
Universities have saved millions of pounds by withholding salaries from lecturers for days they were on strike. So far no university has offered to pay any of that saved money directly to students affected by the strikes, with some universities suggesting the money could be spent on general services for students. But many students do not view this as acceptable and want to receive direct financial compensation.
Shimon Goldwater added: “With the UCU estimating in March that strike action affected a million students, with the loss of 575,000 teaching hours that will not be rescheduled, we’re expecting a surge of sign ups over the coming weeks. This is already one of the largest student group legal actions ever to have been launched in the UK.”