The ‘Student Protection Plan’ should do exactly what it says on the tin-it is to protect students who are paying to attend university. It is a legal requirement for universities to have a Student Protection Plan and it must be approved by the Office for Students, the regulatory body of universities. SOAS has updated this document in light of the wide-scale changes that have been made and so as your Union, we think it is vital that you know what your options are, what information you should be given and what your rights are. We hope that these web pages will help you.
These FAQs are split into three sections:
- General Queries
- What are my options?
- Am I entitled to compensation?
If you still have questions after going through these FAQs please feel free to get in contact with us
Susanna, Student Advice & Casework firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucia, Black Student Support Coordiantor email@example.com
Youssra, Co President Equality & Liberation firstname.lastname@example.org
Section 1: General Queries
What is the Student Protection Plan? Why is it important/relevant now?
As you probably know the School is undertaking huge changes to both its academic and professional services structures. Another project being undertaken is mass cutting of modules and degrees (referred to as ‘programs’ in this document). It is clear that massive changes to what options SOAS offers will impact students. Find out more about the Tranformation and Change Project and how to get involved here.
Q) How will I know if my course or module choice has been affected?
A) The school will email/write to you with full details of how your course will be affected. You would be informed about things such as programme amendments, programme withdrawals and choices of current or new programmes to choose from.
If changes are being made to my course, when will I have to decide what option I will take?
After the Information, Advice and Guidance is made available to students, students will be requested to indicate their preferred way of proceeding by 17th July 2020.
Q) I am a study abroad student. Will my course be affected?
A) If your country of choice to study in is not an option any longer the school will try to find a similar institution close by for you to study in. An alternative location with similar learning experiences may also be offered as an option as well as suggesting for you to return to SOAS to complete your course should it be impossible for the school to find you a suitable institution.
Section 2: What are my options?
Q) What are my options if my course or module has been affected?
There are three options that may be available to you:
- Internal transfer to a similar programme
- Teach out
- External transfer
Q) What is ‘Teach Out’?
A) ‘Teach out’ refers to the schools’ commitment of continuing to deliver the core and compulsory programmes on your course ensuring that you will experience the same level of standards if your programme were to continue in the future. Standards would include:
- Quality of the programme
- Teaching provided
- Student experience
Q) Will I get a chance to speak to someone about my course changes?
A) Yes you will get the opportunity to share your concerns with you Head of Department/Programme Convenor/Academic adviser about the potential options you will have to proceed with you studies.
Q) There are no new/similar courses which can replace my cancelled course what can I do?
A) You will have the opportunity to meet with your Head of Department/ Programme Convener/ Academic adviser and discuss the option of getting an external transfer to a programme in another institution.
Q) I have looked at all the new programmes and have decided none of them suitable for me. What happens next?
A) The school will help you move to a similar course at another external institution. The school will try to support your needs around this change i.e. travelling to the new institution or childcare.
The school will also present to you a comparison of the chosen external institution with SOAS, highlighting the differences in services in accommodation, library services, financial support, counselling and mental health support and Student Union activities.
Q) What If I decide to quit my studies at SOAS and not move to an external institution?
A) You will receive an exit award and certification of your academic achievements at SOAS. The school will also provide you with an academic reference and transcript should you want to continue your studies in the future.
We are talking about big decisions, who can I speak to before I decide whether to transfer internally or externally?
Before making your decision you will be entitled to Information, Guidance and Advice. This means you can ask for advice from: Student Advice and Wellbeing, Student Experience and Engagement, the Disability Office. You can also have 1 on 1 meetings with your course convenors and heads of departments. You could also reach out to the SU and your student rep for peer discussions. If you depend on extra help from SOAS, you can also reach out to the Student and Academic Experience department.
If I am not happy with the way my course alteration has been handled, where would I make a complaint?
You would make a complaint or a claim for compensation through the usual student complaints procedure. The details of which can be found here: https://www.soas.ac.uk/student-complaints/student-complaints-procedure.html.
Section 3: Am I entitled to compensation?
How will I know if I am eligible for compensation?
If you are thinking about claiming compensation, you can reach out to the Student Casework Team and the Students’ Union. They can discuss the standard compensation process with you. Students can expect a maximum of £2000 depending on the amount of distress and inconvenience caused by external transfers. Where teaching out occurs there will not normally be compensation available. Requests will be dealt with on an individual basis.
In the situation where SOAS withdraws a programme, teach out is not possible and the student rejects the option of an external transfer we would consider a compensation payment.
Q: How does the school calculate the refunds?
A: We calculate the fee liability per half term pro rata for the first two terms:
Stage of Withdrawal or Leave of Absence Charge
Term 1: before reading week 1/6 annual fees
Term 1: during or after reading week 2/6 annual fees
Term 2: before reading week 3/6 annual fees
Term 2: during or after reading week 4/6 annual fees
Term 3 Full year's fees due
Q: Who will get the refund payment?
A: The original payee will receive the remaining balance. That means if you receive a tuition fee loan the refund will go back to Student Finance England.
Q:What if I am funded through student finance/loans?
Stage of Interruption or Withdrawal Effective Charge
Before the first day of Term 2 25% annual fees
Before the first day of Term 3 50% annual fees
Term 3 100% annual fees
Q: How will compensation claims be processed?
All compensation claims are processed through the same procedure regardless of the
circumstances that have resulted in the claim being made. They comply with UUK’s recommendations.
Q: Can I submit a claim with a fellow student?
The school considers each claim on a case by case basis where you are seeking
compensation or additional payments in respect of programme closures leading to external transfers to another University.
Q:Will I get compensation if I decide to a teach out?
The school would not normally pay compensation where teach out of a programme is offered and delivered to you or where you have agreed to transfer internally to another programme.
Q:What if I have a SOAS scholarship, will that be cancelled?
The school will continue to fund you for the period to the end of the agreed term if you have to change institutions or programme.
Q:How is the level of compensation considered?
A:The school uses the following OIA guidance: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/about-us/reviewing-complaints/what-happens-when-a-stu