14. Consumer law and higher education

14.1 Introduction

In March 2015 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published advice for higher education providers to help them comply with their consumer law obligations. The advice covers what the CMA believes HE providers need to do to comply with consumer protection law in relation to the following three areas:

  • Information provision – the need to provide up front, clear, accurate, comprehensive, unambiguous and timely information to prospective and current students.
  • Terms and conditions – the need for terms and conditions that apply to students to be fair and balanced. HE providers should not rely on terms that could disadvantage students.
  • Complaint handling processes and practices – the need to ensure that complaint handling processes and practices are accessible, clear and fair to students.

14.2 Guidance for Loughborough University Staff

Loughborough University compliance with consumer protection law is overseen by a CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) Development Group which is chaired by the Academic Registrar. The purpose of the Group is to advise the Academic Registrar on CMA compliance issues and to co-ordinate actions to ensure risks are minimised while recognising the practical issues involved. 

The Development Group has produced a document providing CMA guidance for staff [intranet, PDF, 163kB].

The Guide provides information on how we ensure compliance with consumer protection law during the recruitment cycle and during the programme and module approval and update process.  This includes a process for consulting with prospective and current students when making changes to programme or module content.

14.3 Points of contact

Key points of contact for staff with consumer protection law queries are:

Student Recruitment:

Sarah Hannaford, S.Hannaford@lboro.ac.uk - 222476

Programme and Module Changes:

Dr Rob Pearson, R.Pearson2@lboro.ac.uk - 222230

Terms and Conditions of Study and Student Complaints:

Dr Jennifer Nutkins, J.C.Nutkins@lboro.ac.uk - 222226