5 JULY 2023 | NEWS

Students affected by the marking boycott at Manchester University will receive £500 in compensation, the institution has confirmed.

The news comes as the university previously refused to verify a claim made by an anonymous member of staff that students who do not receive final grades for their degrees would be compensated financially and with a letter explaining to employers why they had graduated without a final degree classification.

Last month, Wolves approached the university for comment on the claim, but it refused twice to clarify whether it was true or not.

Yesterday, the University of Manchester released an update confirming the speculation mounting on social media.

In a post made to its website, the university said: “We are putting in place as much support as possible for those impacted by the boycott and will continue to do all we can to award degree classifications as quickly as possible.

“Any student who experiences a delay in receiving their degree award beyond the date of their graduation ceremony will be paid £500.

“If the delay is resolved before ceremonies begin on 11 July, students will receive a payment of £150.

“If a student is unsure of how to explain the situation to a prospective employer, the Careers Service is available now and for up to two years after they finish their course.

“We will also be providing students with a letter, which they can share with prospective employers or further education institutions, to explain the context and assure them of the quality and standards of our awards, and help explain the situation.”

The university added: “Of more than 11,400 students due to graduate this summer, less than three percent have been identified as having insufficient marks for an exam board to consider an award.”

With tuition fees for an undergraduate course setting students back by at least £30,000 alone – not including maintainence loans for accomodation costs – a widespread backlash is anticipated by those affected by the marking boycotts across the country.

Students from various universities across the UK have already told Wolves of plans to stage protests at graduation ceremonies, in response to the UCU’s ongoing disputes with more than 140 institutions.

A poll conducted several weeks ago by The Tab found that only one quarter of students support the nationwide boycotts. Of the 8,500 surveyed, only 27 percent said they supported the action.

In response to university’s statement, a spokesperson for the student group Manchester Leftist Action said: “£500 is not enough for students who are now having to go into the workplace and get jobs.

“They are not receiving their degrees and, unless a deal is made soon, they may never receive them. The only way to solve this is by reaching a deal with the UCU and granting staff a pay rise.

“The university could at any time have demanded the national negotiators in UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association) to go back to the table, and as the largest university, it would have had a significant impact.

“Their failure has directly led to this, and it is a failure to both students and staff.”

The spokesperson added that the University of Manchester should instead compensate affected students proportionally to the tuition fees paid for the final semester of study.

Wolves has contacted the university for further comment.

The UCU’s marking and assessment boycott is a nationally developing story, and Wolves will continue to bring you the developments as they come.

William Hallowell
William Hallowell is a Journalism graduate and freelance reporter.


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