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21 I am having difficulties with my university. What can I do?

If you are having difficulties with your university, remember that you have rights in the relationship. Your relationship with the university is controlled by the same set of rules that control any other contract. Your university is also bound by special rules that apply to public bodies. In addition, your university will have its own regulations, which differ between universities.

You can usually find most of these rules and regulations in the university prospectus, which you will have been given when you first applied. You may also find additional regulations in handbooks produced by the university and your own department.

If you want advice on your difficulties, it is best to approach your student union because they will know most about your particular university and its individual regulations. Student union advisors will be able to advise you on your rights and the appeal processes. They will also have a good general knowledge of the relevant laws that govern the relationship between you and your university. Your student union may also be able to get you copies of the relevant handbooks and regulations that apply in your case. 

If you have not managed to resolve your difficulty after going through all the internal appeal procedures and consulting your student union, you could consider making a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator on 0118 959 9813 or

Finally, you may need assistance from a solicitor or organisation specialising in higher education law. However, the courts have very limited powers, especially where your complaint concerns judgements the university has made about your work.

If your problem concerns assessments made either by the university or your local authority over the level of fees you should pay, this should also be checked by your student union. However, if you have problems you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible as there can be very tight time limits for challenging these decisions.

If you have exhausted your other options, we recommend that you speak to one of our education advisers on 0845 345 4 345 for specialist advice. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid

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