Foreign students express frustration at online learning model, call for partial fee refund

Many university students, after a semester of online-based learning are now demanding for a partial refund on their tuition fee.

Face-to-face teaching has been halted in most universities to reduce the spread of COVID.

Students from across the country have moved into student accommodation and other living arrangements in hopes of in-person classes being continued.

After the announcement by The Minster for Higher Education Simon Harris that online-based learning will continue next year, some students have called for a partial refund of their tuition as they feel they are not getting the value of what they paid for.

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Frustration: Students are requesting a partial refund of their student fees

Adeolu Samuel, an international Masters student at the University of Limerick said he’s “frustrated” he will not get the international study experience he was hoping to get as his course is for one year and he may never actually have an in-person study experience in Ireland.

“As an international student I had to pay about €13,000 for tuition and I genuinely do not feel I am getting the value for the money.”

“If it was announced earlier about the situation concerning online-based learning I would have postponed my Masters until after COVID,” he said.

Victoria Adesanya, a first-year psychology student at University College Cork also thinks there should be some type of reimbursement especially, because of the toll it takes on mental health.

“I moved into student accommodation in hopes of going to classes in September and I have been in isolation ever since. I don’t know anyone here in Cork and I haven’t made friends yet because of the restrictions.”

“It is very lonely here and if I knew classes would have been online I would have stayed back in Dublin in my family home,” she said.

“We paid to use certain facilities in the school and we haven’t been able to enjoy this. I think it is only decent the school reimburses us some part of the fees.”

“If I took a course online it would not have cost me this much- and that’s the same experience I am getting with the online-based learning,” she added.

University College Cork were among the first to go online

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said that USI welcomes confirmation that the payment of €250 which Government describes as “compensation owing to the experience students have had due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, the Union is concerned that non-EU students who pay significant sums to Irish colleges and face high costs do not have access to the payment despite having a very different experience this year.

 “We are very concerned that non-EU students do not have access to this €250 when they face huge costs and are getting nothing like the usual student experience in Ireland. we feel they are being treated like an income source rather than members of our college communities who bring so much to college life,” she said.

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