As an international student at a UK university, you have exactly the same public law rights as any home student and your overseas status should make absolutely no difference to the way you are treated by your university. If anything, you should feel that your university is looking out for you a little more than home students, as they should be aware that your experience might very well prove more difficult for you than for those students who are more accustomed to this country's educational system.
Indeed, it is not uncommon for international students to find themselves facing difficulties at university or college through no fault of their own but rather because of language problems or because of a general lack of understanding of official processes and procedures.
Since the introduction of university tuition fees in 1998, the dynamic between students and their educational institution has become considerably altered, ultimately becoming no different to the relationship between any other consumer and service provider. In the intervening years, the cost of education has risen steadily and it is now commonplace for overseas students to pay as much as £18,000 for a university education. This is a huge investment for most overseas students and naturally, it comes with certain expectations of a very high standard of services and facilities. The University owes duties to its students both under contract law and also under public law principles.
If those expectations are not being met, international students have the right to consider a challenge to their university.
So how exactly should you challenge your university?
If you feel that your public law rights are being compromised in any way, your first step should be to consider raising this with the University and, if need be, to consider the internal complaints procedure of your particular educational establishment.
However, if you have engaged with the internal complaints procedure and feel that it has not adequately addressed your problem, you should then involve the OIA - the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. You should also be aware, however, that you are not actually permitted to complain to the OIA without first having sought resolution through the internal complaints procedure. Furthermore, once you do involve the OIA, it is your responsibility to prepare all the relevant evidence in a professional and timely manner.
How can Match Solicitors help?
Whatever the specific issue that you are facing, if you feel that your right to a high standard of university education has been compromised, Match Solicitors can assist you in preparing and presenting your case.
With our team of highly experienced and specialised education barristers, we provide assistance to hundreds of international students every year and we are perfectly positioned to guide you through the maze of official procedures to a successful resolution of your problem.
Give us a call at Match today to discuss your situation in complete confidence.