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Settlement - CS011810

The student was pursuing a Diploma in Law. She stepped off the course for a year because she was pregnant. She was unable to return to her studies after having the baby because of a change in her finances and difficulties with caring responsibilities.

The provider refused to refund the tuition fees she had paid in advance.

The student lodged a complaint as she believed the provider’s fee policy placed her at a disadvantage on grounds of maternity. The provider’s Fee Appeal Panel refused to consider her refund request because it did not consider pregnancy to meet the ground of extenuating circumstances. The student complained to us.

We asked the provider to reconsider the student’s fee appeal. We thought that it was unreasonable to require the student to have made an informed decision about whether she would be able to continue with the course in the following year. It would be reasonable to expect the student to foresee that having a child might have an impact on her ability to complete her studies, but it is unlikely that the full extent of the financial and personal impact on her circumstances would have been clear to her when she stepped off the course.

The provider agreed to reconsider the appeal and the Fee Appeal Panel agreed to provide the student with a refund of the fees for the academic year which she did not attend.