Sheffield Student Union leading campaign for 30% tuition fee rebate

Sheffield University's Student Union has written to the government asking for a 30% rebate on this year's tuition fees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The open letter, which has been signed by students from the London School of Economics as well, suggests increasing the rate of interest on the loan to cover the cost of the rebate.

The students have said that the increase in the interest rate from 3% to 6% would only affect the highest-earning graduates based on modelling by the LSE.

The rebate would see students be paid back £2,700, for what they say would be compensation for the disruption caused to their education in the last 16 months.

Most students have had all teaching online since September.

Beth Eyre, Sheffield University Student Union President, said: "Students have lost out this year and deserve compensation.

"Our model is the start of a conversation about how we compensate them in a way that doesn’t harm the universities that can’t afford it or the taxpayer.

"This year, students have been forgotten at every turn. It is time for the government to listen, take leadership and contribute solutions themselves."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Universities have a strong track record in delivering excellent blended tuition, and we have been clear from the start of the pandemic that the quality and quantity should not drop.

"The Office for Students will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and Universities should be open about what students can expect."The department added that universities are responsible for setting tuition fees themselves with maximum limits imposed by a regulator.