Univer­sity pays out £60,000 over ‘Mickey Mouse’ de­gree

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front page - By Steve Bird

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

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