Over 1,000 UCD students call for fees to be compensated

UCD students have called on the university to compensate fees due to a “lesser quality of education” being provided.

1,128 University College Dublin (UCD) students have called on the university to provide compensation for fees in light of disruptions due to the outbreak of Covid-19. 

The students have signed a petition calling the university to compensate the “hefty” fees paid while the college has been closed during Covid-19 restrictions. 

Many respondents to the petition were non-EU or international students (82.5%), some of whom pay up to 37,000 for one year’s tuition. 

150 students have directly requested compensation from the college which has not been granted, according to UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU).

UCDSU Graduate Officer Conor Anderson stated: “The University really needs to address the concerns these students are expressing.”

He added: “To pay upwards of 30,000 for an educational experience that includes library access, lab access, and practicals, only to be told that, actually, it’s all going to be online learning for the rest of your degree, is a shock.”

“Students understand that this is an unprecedented situation but no one in the world would pay that much for an online course, and no university would charge it,” he continued. 

UCD, along with colleges and schools around Ireland, has been closed since 6pm on March 12 in a move to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

In an email to staff and students on March 12, UCD President Andrew Deeks outlined that the university would move to online learning for the remainder of the academic year.

UCDSU’s International Officer Aadutya Shah said: “As an international student, studying in UCD, my degree has been totally uprooted since UCD closed its campus and I returned to India.”

She continued: “There is a major change in the teaching patterns since then, moving from in-class learning to distance learning.”

“I am living in a different timezone and I have limited access to resources like high speed connectivity, access to hard copy of books from the library, meeting facilities to brainstorm on group tasks,” she added. 

She explained: “I started the petition because the quality of the education students’ were receiving was not what we signed up for.”

“Many international students have taken out loans to pay the hefty fees that UCD charges and are still paying rent in Dublin,” she added. 

“Considering the lesser quality of education we are receiving, we are asking UCD to provide compensation for this,” she continued. 

Covid-19 has led to many students being left in uncertain positions all over Ireland. Last week, Trinity announced that they are “not yet in a position” to allocate accomodation for the next academic year. While students living in Trinity Hall (Halls) were provided with partial refunds, there has been no indication that refunds would be offered for the shift from in-person to online learning.

This article was updated at 22:32 on May 25 to amend an incorrect use of “EU” students to the correct “Non-EU” students.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.