1. Introduction: What is the purpose of this Student Protection Plan?
Student protection plan
1.1 This Student Protection Plan sets out the measures Results Consortium (Results) has in place to protect you, our student, in the event that there is a risk to the continuation of your studies. The risks we have identified are listed in section 2, the measures your college has put in place to mitigate those risks are listed in section 3. The measures are in addition to the protections you have under consumer protection law and do not impinge on your consumer rights.
|2. Risks to the continuation of study||3. Measures put in place to mitigate risks|
|The Governing Body of Results Consortium has identified the following risks as relevant to the college:||Results has taken the following steps to mitigate risks identified:|
|2.1 A decision to close the college has been taken. This risk is considered to be low as the college delivers only two higher education courses with small numbers of students on each. Additionally, the college has profitably run further education (FE) courses for many years and so has in place
infrastructure and resources which are largely funded by its ongoing FE provision.
|3.1 College closure. To enable progression of our further education students, Results has established links with a range of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). We will use these connections and our existing Information, Advice and Guidance service to enable students to transfer to an alternative institution.|
|2.2 A decision by the college to close a campus has been taken. The risk of closing a campus is considered to be medium as premises are leased and so factors outside the direct control of the college may impact on campus accommodation.||3.2 Campus closure. Results operates from a number of campuses. With the relatively small number of students we plan to have on our higher education courses in 2020/2021, we will be able to find alternative accommodation in a timely manner.|
|2.3 A decision to close a Higher Education course due to insufficient enrolment has been taken by the college. The risk of closing a course is considered to be low as there are only two courses currently being proposed for delivery; the level 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care and the HNC/D in Business, both of which will provide a natural progression for a significant number of Results’ level 3 students, meaning that we anticipate sufficient demand to support this course from our internal progression alone.||3.3 Course closure due to insufficient enrolment. Results has a dedicated marketing team that has proved highly effective at further education level, should
forecast student enrolment appear problematic, Results will utilise this resource to enhance student numbers. In the unlikely event of college closure, Results will facilitate transfer of students to an approved Higher Education Institution. A refund policy is in place, see 4.0 below.
|2.4 Loss or restriction of Higher Education Institution (HEI) status. In the year 2020- 2021 this risk is considered low, Results has in place the resources, policies, procedures and governance systems to ensure successful operation of the HEI.||3.4 Loss or restriction of Higher Education Institution (HEI) status. Results will use connections with other HEIs and our existing Information, Advice and Guidance service to enable students to transfer to an alternative institution. In the unlikely event of college closure, Results will facilitate transfer of students to an approved Higher Education Institution. A refund policy is in place, see 4.0 below.|
|2.5 Withdrawal of student loan designated status or designation for statutory student finance. The risk of loss of the student loan facility is considered low as Results has a track record of supporting students using the student loan facility that extends back over 3 years.||3.5 Withdrawal of student loan facility. In the unlikely event of the withdrawal of student loan finance, the Results Information, Advice and Guidance service will be available to enable students’ decision making. A refund policy is in place, see 4.0 below.|
|2.6 A decision has been taken not continue a course for the subsequent year. Results’ analysis of the resources required and forecast student numbers means that this is regarded to be low risk. We anticipate sufficient student enrolment to support the course and, based on our progression performance in further education, anticipate that progression from our further education provision will sustain our higher education provision.||3.6 Decision not to run a course in a subsequent year. Decisions to close a course will be made by the Academic Board or Governing Body. Wherever possible
Results will make arrangements to ‘teach out’ to our current students. The college management will ensure that the decision is published on the college website and future applicants are notified in accordance with UCAS deadlines.
|2.7 Other disruption of college activity (e.g. temporary disruption within term-time not covered by any of the above). This risk is difficult to quantify as it is dependent on actors outside the Results college environment.||3.7 Other disruption of college activity. Should campus-based learning be temporarily interrupted, Results will use its Virtual Learning Environment and operate in a remote learning mode to enable the continuity of learning for our students for short term interruptions.|
|2.8 The unanticipated departure of key members of college staff. This risk is considered to be medium, due to the fluid nature of the higher education employment market.||3.8 Unexpected departure of key members of college staff. Results will have in place full-time staff with capabilities across our higher education delivery spectrum. On a short-term basis we will be able to draw from suitably qualified and experienced further education staff and our bank of associate lecturers.|
4. Policy to refund tuition fees, other relevant costs and compensation to students in the event of non-continuation of study
4.1 All Higher Education students are responsible for all their fees and other charges. For undergraduates, in most cases, this will be funded by Student Finance England (SFE). However, it is still the responsibility of students to make the necessary application to SFE and to keep SFE informed of any changes. Please note that academic staff are not empowered to vary fees or agree payment schedules on behalf of the College. Students who have not paid their tuition fees by the due dates will be subject to sanctions and corporate debt management procedures.
WITHDRAWAL FROM A PROGRAMME OF STUDIES
4.2 This applies to all higher education students. Students who withdraw from their programme of studies or who have an agreed absence, remain liable for a percentage of the fees for the remainder of their academic year as set out below. Any students thinking of withdrawing should discuss this with their programme leader and the Results Information, Advice and Guidance service.
4.3 Where the fees have been paid by SFE, any refunds will be made direct to SFE and not the student.
4.4 Where a student transfers to another course within the college, the fees paid for the original course will be transferred to the new course, subject to the rules set by SFE. Where the fee for the new course is higher than for the original course the balance of fees must be paid. There will be no partial refund if the fee for the new course is lower than the original course.
4.5 In the case of students who do not notify their programmes leader (or Information, Advice and Guidance) of their decision to withdraw, the date used for the official withdrawal date will be the date that the programme team attempts by email to contact the student to clarify matters, NOT the date of last attendance.
4.6 Where the course fees have been paid by a sponsor and the sponsored student leaves before the start of the course, the sponsor will be allowed to transfer the fees paid to a replacement student.
4.7 Applications for a refund of any fees for any other reason must be submitted in writing to the Director of Studies. All refunds must be approved by the Director of Studies or his representative.
COURSE CLOSURE OR COURSE SUSPENSION
4.8 This applies to all higher education students. Results will provide refunds where it is necessary to close a course due to insufficient numbers or where the attendance of students is made impossible or inappropriate by some action of the college. In the event of a course closure, refunds will not be paid to those students who have:
(a) Voluntarily left the course
(b) Not attended for a period of four weeks prior to closure without previously agreeing a period of planned absence with their programme leader.
4.9 Refunds will not be made for any personalised items or materials which are being retained by the student.
4.10 If a refund is agreed through either course closure, within the 14 day enrolment period, or as a result of an investigation through the Results Students Complaints Policy and Procedure, the following refund process will apply:
4.10.01 Payments will be returned via the original payment method used, unless a card or account has expired, in which case refunds will be by bankers’ transfer.
4.10.02 Where the original payment was received from the Student Loan Company, refunds will be made to the Student Loan Company. The Student Loan Company will reclaim fees as a result of the college completing a change of fee notification. The Student Loan Company will then be responsible for amending the student’s repayments to reflect the reduced loan amount.
4.10.03 Where fees were invoiced to and payment received from an employer/sponsor, refunds will be returned to the employer/sponsor by the same payment method.
4.11 Fees will not be refunded where course suspension is temporary due to circumstances beyond the control of Results, including but not exclusive to fire, flood or other force majeure,adverse weather conditions, failure of public utilities or transport systems/networks, restrictions imposed by the government, terrorist attack or threat of, epidemic or pandemic disease, temporary staff absences or changes including those due to industrial action.
4.12 A refund request in response to an issue with academic quality or the delivery of the course should follow the procedures set out in the Results Students Complaints Policy and Procedure. Students should explain in detail the issue/problem experienced and why they believe that they are entitled to a refund. This must be done within 14 days of the issue occurring to give Results sufficient time to explore options for remedying the issue. The policy will be applied and if the student’s request is successful, the student may receive a refund if this is deemed the appropriate resolution, subject to the authorisation from the Director of Studies (or his/her nominee). If the student’s request is rejected, a rationale will be given and the student will be advised on how to appeal the decision.
4.13 Where the consequences of Results’ decisions (e.g. a course closure) make it necessary for students to transfer to an alternative provider, or there is a change in the location of the course (which was not notified to the student prior to the commencement of the academic year), Results will consider appropriate compensation for additional travel or other costs directly attributable to the non-preservation of continuation of study.
4.14 Results’ priority will always be to ensure that students receive the education experience outlined in the organisation’s course information and its learning agreement. Where as a result of an investigation through the Results Students Complaints Policy and Procedure it is concluded that this has not been the case, appropriate financial or other compensation may be offered.
4.15 Results is aware of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education’s (OIA) guidance on considering whether it is appropriate to recommend compensation payments to higher education students for distress and inconvenience. Using the OIA’s criteria for categorisation, Results will consider the following indicative compensation awards:
4.16 The above amounts are indicative only and any compensation payments will be contingent on the circumstances relating to individual students. Payments over £2,500 will be considered in exceptional circumstances only.
4.17 Descriptors for levels of distress or inconvenience are as below:
An act or omission by Results that has caused some distress or inconvenience in the short-term (for example less than six months) Moderate delays (for example less than six months) or other procedural irregularities directly attributable to Results, where there is evidence to indicate that the student suffered material disadvantage
An act or omission by Results that has caused some distress or inconvenience in the long-term (for example more than six months)Substantial mishandling of a complaint by Results that has demonstrably caused unreasonable or avoidable substantial delay (for example more than six months), where there is evidence to indicate that the student suffered material disadvantage
Convincing and contemporaneous evidence to suggest that, as a result of Results actions or omissions, the student has suffered from ill health. Major maladministration, procedural flaws, delays or other breaches of natural justice in Results’ internal process resulting in material disadvantage to the student. Where there has been a clear material disadvantage to a student as a result of Results’ actions or omissions, but a practical remedy is inappropriate or impossible.
4.18 Applications for a refund of any fees must be submitted in writing to the Director of Studies. All refunds must be approved by the Director of Studies or his representative.
FINANCIAL CONTINGENCY FOR RESULTS’ REFUND AND COMPENSATION POLICY
4.19 Results will incorporate provisions within its annual budget for the potential payment of tuition fee and other refunds and compensation payments to students. A combination of insurance policies and cash reserves (where appropriate) will be allocated in those circumstances where students at increased risk of non-continuation of study have been identified. Arrangements will be in place from the point of approved registration with the Office for Students.
5. Communication of student protection plan to students
5.1 Results will publicise its Student Protection Plan to current and future students by providing it on the college website and by making it available at appropriate student forums.
5.2 Results will ensure that staff are aware of the implications of the Student Protection Plan when they propose course or programme changes by ensuring the policies and procedures included in the Quality Manual are followed and that the Academic Board makes decisions in accordance with Results’ policy.
5.3 The Governing Body of Results will review the Student Protection Plan annually and engage students in its review via the College’s Academic Board meetings – see policy for Programme Committee Meetings.
5.4 The Academic Board of Results will inform our students if there are to be material changes to their course by in accordance with the requirements laid out in the course variation policy and procedure, which includes engaging students in decision-making related to programme change and development.
5.5 Results will normally give students one semester notice when we need to make material changes to their course
5.6 Through its Information, Advice and Guidance service, Results will put in place arrangements to ensure that our students have access to independent advice if we need to implement the measures in the Student Protection Plan.