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Petitions Committee has questioned Universities Minister on the impact of coronavirus on university students

8 June 2020

This week, the Petitions Committee held a virtual evidence session to question the Minister for Universities.


On Thursday 11 June, the Committee questioned the Minister, Michelle Donelan MP, about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the university sector and students.

This latest evidence session came as unprecedented numbers engage with the Petitions Committee on this issue – with tens of thousands of people sharing their views and concerns through social media, including more than 28,000 respondents to a survey. The historic levels of engagement followed more than 342,000 people signing a petition to reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19. A series of parliamentary petitions relating to the outbreak have received more than 3.7 million signatures across the country.



During the session, the Committee pressed the Minister for answers to some of the vital issues raised by students through petitions, as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc with the UK's higher education system. Committee Chair, Catherine McKinnell MP, led the session.

In an evidence hearing with the Petitions Committee last month, Sophie Quinn, a student and the author of the initial petition, told MPs how students felt “angry” and “frustrated” as coronavirus prevented them from getting the education they had paid for. The University of Liverpool student told the Committee "this whole year has been disrupted by strikes and the coronavirus,” adding that students feel “completely ignored”.


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