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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Carlisle university students hit by tuition fee error

Dozens of teaching students at the University of Cumbria could be £1,200 out of pocket due to a mix-up over tuition fees.

About 75 first years on Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) courses at the University’s campuses in Fusehill Street, Carlisle, and Lancaster are affected by the problem.

They were shocked to be sent invoices for £9,000 in fees, rather than the £7,850 they had been expecting.

The discrepancy is due to a new fees regime.

On the application website for admissions agency UCAS though, it was still shown that students could apply paying the lower fee.

The students’ union is helping the students and appealed for anyone affected to get in touch as soon as possible.

A spokesman for the union said: “We hope that things can be clarified quickly and effectively with minimal impact for those students.”

The university confirmed it was aware of a number of students on BA (Hons) Early Years with QTS and BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS courses who have received a tuition fee loan, which is the incorrect level of funding.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are aware of the issue of discrepancy between the fee charged and the amount of funding provided by Student Finance England.

“Staff at the university are looking into the background as to how this has happened and are also offering support and providing advice to the students on what needs to be done with the Student Loan Company to ensure the correct course tuition fee is recorded so the correct tuition fee loan can be provided.”

She added that only 12 students affected had not received the help they needed, and that the university was in the process of contacting them with offers of assistance.

“It’s the first year of the new fee regime, and a number of issues and teething problems have been identified by the Student Loan Company (SLC),” she said.

“Some students will have chosen the wrong fee level on the SLC website by their own error, while others will have been affected by errors on the site.

“The number of students (c80) was small compared to the majority of the c3500 new students who started with us this year, and who encountered no issue with applying for the correct fee for their course. All the university’s course information for entry in 2012 gave the correct fee level for each course.”

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