Students are demanding a refund from legal educator BPP, claiming the university ‘severely degraded the quality of teaching and assessment’ during lockdown and created an environment of ‘mistrust and anxiety’.
In an open letter to BPP’s vice chancellor, students on the Legal Practice Course said class sizes more than quadrupled in the wake of Covid-19 – contrary to the university’s handbook – and students were locked out of online examinations because of IT failures. More than 100 LPC and master's students participated in the open letter and survey that set out the complaints.
Students also claim that BPP failed to provide hard copies of teaching materials such as textbooks and refused to refund students for the printing costs incurred, despite the fact the University of Law has managed to print and deliver materials at its own expense.
Meanwhile, students in London continue to be charged a premium of £4,400, despite the remainder of classes being conducted online with students from the Manchester and Leeds campuses, they said. The Gazette understands the university’s student finance team has threatened to withhold the results of students who have not paid their tuition fees.
‘Overall, BPP University’s response to lockdown and coronavirus has only served to create an environment of mistrust and anxiety for students, severely degrade the quality of teaching and assessment, and push as many costs of adjusting to lockdown onto students,’ the letter concluded.
‘The University of Law has successfully avoided many of the problems outlined in this letter. As they are BPP’s closest competitor, we feel that this shows that our expectations as students are both reasonable and achievable.’
Students have demanded to be compensated for classes that were cancelled and for changes in class size. They have also asked to be reimbursed for printing costs and for the difference in fees between a student’s own campus and that of the lowest cost campus to account for the loss of facilities.
A spokesperson for BPP said: 'We cannot comment on individual complaints but confirm that all concerns raised by students are taken seriously and dealt with using the processes stated in our regulations. We understand and are sympathetic to students impacted by the disruption caused by the unprecedented nature of Covid-19.
'Whilst we have taken many steps to provide opportunities for students to continue to progress, if at all possible, our number one priority has been ensuring the safety of students and colleagues.’
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.