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Financial Issues: Refund of fees - PI061602
Public interest case June 2016 | Justified
An international postgraduate student at De Montfort University had her Tier 4 visa refused by the Home Office. She appealed that decision and, in the meantime, was permitted to enrol at the University. She was automatically re-enrolled the following year, while her appeal was still pending.
The Court of Appeal rejected her appeal but by that time she had paid two years’ fees. The University declined to refund her fees. She complained to the University and the University dismissed her complaint.
We decided the complaint was Justified because it was not reasonable for the University to have dismissed her complaint without referring it to a full University Complaints Committee. The University had told the student that she was enrolling "at her own risk" but did not fully explain what that meant. There was no evidence that the University had highlighted the financial risk or provided explicit advice to the student on the specific impact upon her should her visa be refused at any point during her studies. The University had a different policy for enrolled students and for applicants, and this was not made clear to the student. The overall refund policy did not mention students whose visa applications were rejected post enrolment.
We recommended that the University refer the complaint for further consideration and amend its procedures.