Student admissions - Appeals and Complaints policy and procedure for applicants
Appeals and Complaints
The University is dedicated to operating a fair and consistent admissions process that safeguards the interests of the applicants. In the event of a dispute it is anticipated that in the first instance applicants will be able to successfully resolve such matters by way of informal discussion with the relevant Admissions Team and/or Faculty. Where this is not possible, more formal action can be taken through the Appeals and Complaints Policy. Applicants can be assured that formal submission of an appeal or complaint will not prejudice any opinion of the applicant, or be used to adversely affect any later dealings with the applicant including any future applications.
Student Appeals and Complaints policy
This policy and procedures apply to all applicants of the University and staff administering them. Applicants are advised to read the following information carefully before submitting a formal complaint or appeal under this policy.
Appeals and/or complaints should be completed by the applicants themselves; letters and other correspondence from other parties will not be considered unless the University has received written and signed authorisation from the applicant that the third party acts on their behalf. If the applicant is under 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian may act as their representative.
All written correspondence should always include the applicant’s full details including name, address, contact details and UCAS or other application reference number where applicable.
Applicants are expected to treat all members of University staff with respect. Applicants who abuse, threaten or mistreat members of staff either verbally, in writing or physically will not be tolerated and will be subject to the policy on staff safety and will have their application and appeal/complaint automatically rejected.
2. Definitions of Appeals and Complaints
2.1 Definitions of Appeals
An appeal is defined as a request for the reconsideration of an admissions decision on an application or the wording/terms and conditions of an offer. An appeal may relate to the following decisions within the application process:
- The decision to interview
- The decision to make an offer
- The content of the offer
- The decision to reject on exam results.
The outcome of a successful request to appeal would be to reconsider the applicant’s application with a view to changing or upholding the original admissions decision.
2.2 Grounds for making an Appeal
The Appeals Procedure may only be used where there are adequate grounds for doing so and may not be used simply because a applicant has been unsuccessful with his or her application at any of the stages listed above. Appeals against decisions may be made on one of the following grounds:
- There is evidence that admissions procedure was not followed
- There is new evidence that has come to light, and the applicant has valid reasons for not previously disclosing it.
- There is evidence that the University has demonstrated bias or prejudice in the treatment of the application.
There is no provision for appeal against the academic or professional judgement of those making the decision on applications.
2.3 Appeals procedure
Applicants who are dissatisfied with an admissions decision may submit an appeal in writing to the Information and Admissions Operations Manager. The appeal must include the following information:
- Applicant’s name
- Applicant’s address
- Application reference number where applicable
- The programme applied for
- The information they have already received.
There are a number of grounds for making an appeal and at least one must be specified in the letter. The grounds for appeal are indicated under 2.2 above.
Please note that all relevant information should be submitted at this time and that it is not possible to consider information that is submitted at a later point in the appeals process without good reason. Appeals can only be considered if received within 30 days of the original despatch of information about an interview, offer or rejection decision.
Verbal discussions regarding the details of the appeal will not be entered into.
Receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged in writing normally within five working days of the date of receipt. The Information and Admissions Operations Manager will assess the grounds on which the appeal is based to determine whether they are valid and where appropriate will consult School admissions staff for academic guidance if the appeal is in relation to an interview.
If it is found that there are no valid grounds for appeal, the appeal will not be progressed any further and the applicant will be informed of this in writing, normally within ten working days. If the grounds stated are assessed as valid, a formal response will be issued by letter normally within ten working days. This response will have one of the following outcomes:
- The decision under appeal will be reviewed and the same decision will be arrived at.
- The decision under appeal will be reviewed and a different decision will be arrived at.
The decision of the Head of Recruitment and Admissions on completion of the internal procedure is final, unless the initial complaint is regarding the Head of the Recruitment and Admissions in which case the Academic Registrar will be involved in this process to offer an independent view and to help ensure that all procedures are followed appropriately and that applicants have been treated fairly.
The Academic Registrar will assess the validity of any appeals at this stage and will respond within ten working days by letter to inform the applicant whether the appeal was successful or not. The decision at this stage is final and the applicant does not have further recourse under these procedures.
3. Definition of Complaints
Complaints are defined as relating to the services offered by the University or the actions or behaviour of a member of staff during the admissions process. This could involve concerns around a procedural error, irregularity or maladministration in the admissions process. If a complaint were upheld, the likely outcome could be a formal or informal apology or decision to review procedures.
3.1 Grounds for making a complaint
A complaint may be made about any stage of the admissions process, where there are adequate grounds for doing so. The Procedure may not be used simply because an applicant has been unsuccessful with his or her application at any of the stages.
Complaints will only be considered valid if they relate to the following:
- The actions of a member of staff
- The conduct of a member of staff
- The services offered by the University.
Claims for financial compensation will not be entered into.
3.2 The Complaints Procedure
There are two routes for complaints:
Informal complaints may be made verbally to the appropriate member of Admissions staff/Academic Admissions Officers, normally within five working days of the event or incident to which they relate and no more than ten working days. This would enable the Admissions staff to quickly gather information about the event or incident.
Applicants who remain dissatisfied or have a more serious complaint may make a formal complaint in writing. This complaint should be addressed to the Information and Admissions Operations Manager and be submitted no later than ten working days after the event or incident. The complaint must include the following information:
- Applicant’s name
- Applicant’s address and contact details
- Applicant’s application number where applicable
- The programme applied for
- The information they have already received
- The nature of their complaint and any supporting evidence
- A reasonable outcome that the applicant feels would be an appropriate resolution to the complaint.
Please note that all relevant information should be submitted at this time and that it is not possible to consider information that is submitted at a later point in the complaints process without good reason. The complaint will be investigated by the Information and Admissions Operations Manager who will reply to the applicant in writing, normally within ten working days.
If the applicant remains dissatisfied with the decision she/he may write to the Head of Recruitment and Admissions explaining why they remain dissatisfied and, in respect of the complaint, what she/he would have hoped the outcome would have been. The Head of Recruitment and Admissions will normally respond within ten working days. This decision is final and the applicant does not have further recourse under these procedures.
The Applicant may, in the event they can offer evidence that the University has failed to follow the complaints procedure as stated in this document, write to the Academic Registrar within ten working days of dispatch of the formal response. The Academic Registrar will then assess the validity of any complaints at this stage and will respond within ten working days by letter or email to inform the applicant whether the complaint was upheld.
4. Collaborative provision
Where an appeal or complaint is identified the collaborative partner will be responsible for managing the process and will be responsible for carrying out their own procedures.
5. Storage of information relating to Appeals and Complaints
By signing your letter of Appeal or Complaint, you agree that the University can process information it contains for all the purposes relating to the Appeal and Complaints procedure for applicants and to your application to the University. Information will be stored and processed in accordance with the University’s registration under the Data Protection Act. It may be disclosed to members of the University who have a need to see it and will be stored as part of your application to the University.
6. Monitoring of Appeals and Complaints
The University regularly monitors the numbers and outcomes of Appeals and Complaints and reports this to internal quality assurance forums with a view to improving customer service. Monitoring reports will not contain any personally identifiable information. The University regulations for registered students contain a formal complaints procedure, which can be accessed here.
7. Admissions feedback
Due to the large volumes of applications the University receives, we are unable, as a matter of routine, to provide detailed feedback to all unsuccessful applicants. However, we will provide general feedback to unsuccessful applicants upon written request (via KentVision/email/letter) to the Information and Admissions Operations Manager or the Head of the Recruitment and Admissions.
The request for feedback should be received within 30 days of the University’s communication of the decision to reject an applicant. The University will normally acknowledge requests within five working days and respond to requests for feedback within 28 days. The University fully supports the UCAS initiative to move to an electronic process for communicating general feedback to all unsuccessful undergraduate applicants via UCAS Track and will provide general feedback via the KentVision applicant portal.
Updated 15 November 2017