A former art student is suing her university saying her degree feels “fraudulent” after both Covid and strike action disrupted her studies.

Tia O’Donnell studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University Arts London (UAL) between 2019 and 2022.

During that time, much of Tia’s teaching was moved online due to the Covid pandemic, and almost a month of teaching days lost due to strike action.

She said strike action disrupted 14 teaching days in February and March 2020, and 13 days from December 2021 to March 2022.

“I’m roughly in £50,000 worth of student debt and I can hardly call it an experience. What I have had is a fragment of a university experience that does not equate to the money that I’ve spent," Tia said.

“Since I was young, it was such a dream to go to CSM because of the previous amazing people that the university had churned out. I wanted to be one of them.

“So, for my education to be nowhere near what previous people’s university experience was, I do feel cheated and my degree does feel a bit fraudulent.”

Islington Gazette:

Tia, from Islington, is one of 37,000 students across England and Wales who are suing their universities over lost teaching time.

Leading law firms Asserson and Harcus Parker are representing the students in a group legal action against 18 universities.

Shimon Goldwater, a partner at Asserson, said that the action is for a breach of contract claim.

He explained: “Every student who goes to university enters into an agreement with the university, under which the university agrees to provide services and the student pays fees.

“During the pandemic, what students had paid for is just not what was given to them, and certainly not during strike action when classes were cancelled.

“When that happens you’re entitled to compensation to make up for the difference in what you paid for, and what you actually received.”

He estimated that domestic students could receive approximately £5,000 in compensation.

The first legal test for the claim is on February 2, when the High Court is set to rule whether individual University College London claimants can bring their claims together as a group.

Legal experts say that if this is successful, similar orders could be made for other student groups, including Tia’s claim against CSM.

CSM and UAL were unable to comment and respond to the claims in this article.