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Universities UK response to ombudsman report on student complaints

Students in corridor

Universities UK responded today [Thursday] to the publication of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) annual report for 2014.

The OIA report for 2014 reveals:

  • A slight rise in the number of new cases received, from 1,972 (2013) to 2,040 (2014)

  • Of the total number of complaints, 500 were found to be justified or partly justified

  • A decrease in the number of cases closed, from 2,251 to 2,175

  • Increases in the proportion of cases that the OIA upheld and in those that were settled between the student and the university

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The marginal increase in the number of complaints received highlights the increased awareness of the independent ombudsman service for students. Universities are learning from complaints and responding to student feedback which helps to improve the overall academic experience.

“The shift in England from public funding to increased fees means that students are understandably, and rightly, demanding more from their university courses. Universities are responding to this and are also improving the amount of information to students about courses to ensure that their experience matches their expectations.

“It is important to remember that the total number of complaints found to be justified or partly justified (500) represents a small percentage of the 2 million students covered by the scheme in England and Wales.

“Overall, student satisfaction levels remain very high across all the UK’s universities and last year the National Student Survey reported that 86 per cent of students were satisfied overall with their course.”



  1. The annual report for 2013 by the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) will be published on 18 June 2015 at www.oiahe.org.uk

  2. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) is the student ombudsman for England and Wales. It deals with complaints and academic appeals from current and former registered students at universities and colleges that belong to the OIA Scheme.

  3. Universities are now publishing more information about what students can expect from their time at university. They are striving also to make information as clear and as accessible as possible, particularly in relation to academic misconduct and plagiarism and what is expected of students.

  4. The latest National Student Survey (NSS) published last year shows that students continue to be very satisfied, with 86 per cent of respondents saying they are satisfied overall with their course. Around 321,000 final-year students responded to the survey: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2014/Name,94055,en.html

Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


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