University pays out £60,000 over ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree
A GRADUATE who sued her university after claiming she ended up with a “Mickey Mouse degree” has received a £61,000 out-of-court settlement in a case that could prompt other students to take legal action.
Pok Wong, 30, lodged a claim against Anglia Ruskin University complaining that its prospectus “fraudulently misrepresented” the business course she enrolled on in 2011. After a two-and-ahalf-year legal battle, Ms Wong and the university settled the dispute. The university agreed to pay her a £15,000 settlement as well as make a £46,000 contribution towards her legal costs.
The case could encourage other students to use the courts to ensure they receive value for their tuition fees. Ms Wong said the settlement justified her trying to prove the university had
exaggerated its claims. “The payout means this is a victory for me, despite the university strenuously fighting my case and denying any responsibility,” Ms Wong said from her home in Hong Kong. She urged universities to ensure their claims were accurate.
“In light of this settlement I think universities should be careful about what they say in their prospectuses,” she said. “I think they often make promises which they know will never materialise or are simply not true.”
Ms Wong claimed the prospectus “fraudulently misrepresented” its international business strategy course.
She qualified with a first class degree in 2013 but claimed she did not receive “value for money” and felt she had been mis-sold the course after the prospectus boasted how the school was a “renowned centre of excellence” offering a “high quality of teaching”.
The university vehemently rejected her claims and did not accept liability.
A spokesman for Anglia Ruskin stressed that Ms Wong’s claims had not been proven in law.
“Ms Wong’s long-standing litigation ... has been settled at the instruction of our insurers to draw a line under these matters and to prevent a further escalation of their legal costs,” she said. “The claims were wholly without merit and resulted in costs orders made against Ms Wong by the Central London County Court on two occasions.”
A National Union of Students spokesman said Ms Wong’s case proved students had rights enshrined in law and “indicate a way students can seek recourse”. They said students should be “partners in their education” and that institutions should be “responding quickly to any concerns”.
Pok Wong lodged a claim against Anglia Ruskin University, alleging that its prospectus ‘fraudulently misrepresented’ the international business strategy course she enrolled on