Degree appeal deadlines ‘differ widely’, says Which?

Deadlines to appeal final degree results differ vastly between universities, according to research by the consumer rights charity Which?

June 28, 2013

As thousands of final-year students prepare to receive their degree classification, the consumer group asked 20 universities in England and Wales about the timeframes in which students can appeal a final degree result.

These ranged from three months at the University of Oxford to just seven working days at Swansea University, Which? says.

The Quality Assurance Agency does not currently give any firm guidance on appeal deadlines, Which? says.

“We think the QAA should look into these variations to make sure that students at universities with very short timescales are not disadvantaged,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?

“Universities set their own appeal deadlines and our research shows how widely these deadlines can vary,” he added.

Students should find out the rules for appealing their classification if they believed they may have cause for complaint, he added.

“If you’re unhappy with your grade and feel you have a cause for complaint, there are ways to get your grievances heard, but it is important to be aware of your university’s deadline as otherwise you may miss your opportunity to appeal,” he said.

In its annual report published earlier this month, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education revealed they received a record 2,012 complaints about institutions in 2012– up by a quarter on the previous year. Of these, 69 per cent were about academic grades.

However, students are only able to take complaints to the ombudsman once they have completed their university’s appeals process.

The OIA is attempting to bring consistency to universities’ complaint handling procedures by asking institutions to sign up to a best practice guide, which is currently under development, its latest annual report said.

Which?, which set up a university guide Which? University in September 2012 in association with the National Union of Students, says students should contact its consumer rights website for free, impartial advice if they have a grievance.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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