University reduces fees for social work students following mistake on website

Students at a London university found out they had been quoted the wrong fees for the master’s social work programme months after starting the course.

Kingston University in London has admitted mistakenly publishing incorrect information about the fees for its master’s social work programme, after several students complained about receiving unexpectedly high invoices at the end of last term.

According to one student, who wishes to remain anonymous, the 2012 cohort was told the fee of £7,100 was the total cost of two years of study. But, in December, they were sent invoices amounting to £3,000 for a single term.

The student said some of her peers – many of whom left jobs or rearranged their finances on the basis that the fees would be spread over two years and therefore mostly covered by the NHS bursary – were very “anxious and uncertain” about whether they could afford to continue on the course.

Kingston has now agreed to fix the fee for this cohort at the level currently covered by the NHS bursary for their entire two-year programme. This amounts to £3,828 for the 2012-13 year; the bursary for 2013-14 has not yet been published by the Department of Health.

A spokesperson for the university said: “As soon as the university became aware of the students’ concerns, it investigated the matter. As a result, it was discovered that a piece of incorrect information had appeared on the university website and the dean of the faculty met with the students affected.

“Students have expressed their satisfaction with the outcome and have withdrawn the complaints they initially lodged.”

Fees for students enrolling in the master’s programme in 2013 will be £5,700 per year.

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