Course mix-up leaves student in lurch

October 18, 2002

Students have had their faith sorely tested as A levels come under scrutiny and as many in higher education struggle to switch courses. The THES reports

The University of Nottingham has apologised to A-level student Ben Lucas for failing to notify him that the MEng architecture with structural design course to which he had been accepted had been cancelled, writes Tony Tysome.

Mr Lucas had waited weeks, first to receive his art A-level result, then to find out whether he would be offered a place on the course. At first, Nottingham admissions staff insisted that he have at least a grade B in art since the course was oversubscribed.

He gained offers for places on architecture courses from Leeds and Manchester universities in case he did not get the grade he needed for Nottingham.

He got a C, but Nottingham said it wanted to consider him anyway. It asked the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for an extension to review his application. Mr Lucas was told he had gained a place.

But his dream was short-lived. Days after arriving, he was told the course had been cancelled.

He said: "After getting there and quite liking it and making some friends, I found I had to leave. It was very disappointing. If they had let me know the course wasn't running, I could have got something sorted and gone elsewhere."

In a letter, the university said the mix-up was due to the late arrival of Mr Lucas's A-level result.

His mother, Val Lucas, said: "What I cannot understand is why they accepted him onto the course at the end of August when we have discovered it was already cancelled two weeks before."

A Nottingham spokesman said: "We apologise unreservedly to Ben Lucas for failing to notify him that the course in architecture and structural design had been cancelled. That he only discovered this after settling in to a hall of residence and turning up for registration is unacceptable.

"The university is investigating the circumstances that led to the error," the spokesman said.

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