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NUI Galway repays students fees after complaints about course

The Students’ Union described the situation as “appalling”.

Image: Shutterstock/Photo By ToRz

NUI GALWAY WILL refund students a year’s tuition fees after complaints about a course at the university.

Current third and fourth-year student of the BA Journalism course are set to be refunded after complaints about the course were upheld by the Student Complaints Board.

As part of the third year of the course, students are required to complete a six to eight-week placement. However, many people said they didn’t receive adequate assistance or information about this aspect of the course and were unable to secure a placement.

Students also complained about communication issues and a “significant lack of leadership” relating to the course, the Irish Times reported today.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, NUI Galway Students’ Union President Megan Reilly said 30 to 40 students were affected. The union helped the students to bring forward the complaint.

“It’s appalling to see what these students are going through … You can’t advertise courses, especially when the fees are extortionate, and then not deliver what you say you will,” Reilly stated.

She said the fact the fees were being repaid was recognition that the issues raised were genuine.

We’re happy to see students standing up and not just being passive, saying, ‘This isn’t good enough, this isn’t what we expected.’

Most students will receive €3,000, while the annual fee was higher for international students. The repayments are expected to cost the university in the region of €100,000.

‘Ongoing issue’

This isn’t the first time there have been complaints about journalism courses at the university.

“It’s obviously an ongoing issue here, it needs to be addressed going forward,” Reilly said.

A new director has been appointed to oversee the BA course, while the MA course is being relaunched.

When asked about the situation, a spokesperson for NUI Galway said the journalism programmes at the university “have been reorganised”.

Following an internal review, a senior academic has been appointed to lead the development of the university’s journalism, media and communications programmes in the coming years.

“A new MA in Journalism will launch in September, with a new focus on digital skills such as verification, social media, analytics and data journalism.

“A new MA in Sports Journalism will launch in 2019. The BA Journalism programme is being reformed and a new joint honours BA Journalism will replace the current structure,” the statement notes.

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Órla Ryan

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