Leeds universities respond to calls for student rent and tuition fee refunds in third national lockdown

Universities in Leeds have responded after calls by students for refunds on fees including accommodation and tuition following the return to online learning and ban on travel and mixing in the third national lockdown

By Megan Jones
Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 3:48 pm
Christie, one of the students who called for rent refunds

The Yorkshire Evening Post spoke to students about the impact the Covid pandemic has had on them.

Christie Monk, a third-year student studying Filmmaking at Leeds Arts University said: "We are unable to return to our houses, yet we are still required to pay the rent for them. The rent on these properties should be frozen until we are allowed to return.

"There are too many students struggling with money, which only adds to stress and mental wellbeing, it needs to be addressed.”

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Leeds Trinity University has confirmed that students in its halls of residence will be given a credit for the rent during lockdown.

The University of Leeds is also offering rent refunds to those in the official university accommodation and will reveal more details 'as soon as possible' but is not offering tuition fee refunds.

Meanwhile, Leeds Arts University has increased its hardship fund.

A spokesperson at Leeds Trinity University said: "Students who live in halls of residence on the Leeds Trinity University campus and are unable to move back into their accommodation for the new (third) lockdown period due to government restrictions will receive a 100% rent credit for this period.”

A spokesperson for the University of Leeds said: "Students everywhere are facing huge challenges and, in line with Government guidance, we are working to ensure they remain safe and supported and receive the best possible education and experience in these exceptional times.

“We also continue to listen to students about how their lives are affected by the pandemic and, working closely with Leeds University Union, are continually looking at ways to improve this experience. We will not be offering tuition fee refunds.”

A joint statement from the University of Leeds and Leeds University Union added: "Students in University-allocated accommodation will be offered an appropriate rent refund and will be sent further details as soon as possible – we are working through the implications of the latest Government guidelines. University and Leeds University Union colleagues continue to work together to address the issue. We understand the concerns of students at this extremely difficult time, and their health and wellbeing remains our top priority.”

A spokesperson for Leeds Arts University said: "During the autumn Leeds Arts University was able to provide students with blended learning, a mix of online i.e. video conferencing and on-site teaching.

"Our students were largely happy with this, given the restrictions all of society is facing. Due to the latest lockdown, all our teaching has now moved online with limited access to facilities for specific students, however contact hours have not been reduced and teaching sessions and tutorials will take place via face-to-face video conferencing.

"Therefore, there are no plans to refund fees, in line with Government policy on this issue. Leeds Arts University does not own any student accommodation so does not receive any income from it, therefore the issue of accommodation cost refunds is a matter of the individual contract between the student and provider.

"However, we have increased our hardship funds for students as we realise this is a very difficult time for many."