Regarding the charges filed against MDH

Apr 20, 2015 | Global

An old issue has come to the fore again: that of the international student demanding her study fees back because she thinks her study programme was of insufficient quality. The student has now filed formal charges against MDH with the district court of Västmanland. As a public authority, MDH has no legal support for refunding fees, and the case has come to be considered as one of general interest to the sector: what rules apply when a fee-paying student is dissatisfied with the quality of the studies?
– MDH obviously wishes for clarity in this issue, just as much as the student and Centrum för rättvisa, says Karin Röding, Vice-Chancellor at MDH.

On today’s discussion page in the daily newspaper DN, Centrum för rättvisa (‘Centre for justice’) write that they, as the representative for an international student, have filed formal charges against MDH. The reason is the student’s opinion that the programme she paid study fees for was of insufficient quality, and therefore she demands her money back.

The programme criticized by the student is Analytical Finance. In September 2013, Universitetskanslerämbetet (the Swedish Higher Education Authority, UKÄ), came to the conclusion that MDH’s bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and thus the Analytical Finance Programme, were of insufficient quality. Since then, the University has taken a range of measures to ensure that programmes leading to a bachelor’s degree in mathematics are of high quality. In February 2015, UKÄ confirmed that these programmes are indeed of high quality and that the University may thus retain the right to award this degree.

It was in November 2013 that the demand for refunded study fees came up for the first time. This had never before happened in Sweden. At the time, MDH announced that there was no legal support for MDH as a public authority to pay back the fee. In February 2014, the higher education sector, via Sveriges universitets och högskoleförbund (the Association of Swedish Higher Education, SUHF), brought the issue to the attention of the Government and emphasized the importance of the Government taking a stance on it. SUHF recommends higher education institutions not to refund any study fees in similar cases until the Government has clarified its position.

– It is important for the nation’s seats of learning to be working under a shared set of rules for how such issues ought to be handled, in order to ensure the equal treatment of international students and to avoid legal inconsistencies. MDH obviously wishes for clarity in this issue, just as much as the student and Centrum för rättvisa, says Karin Röding, Vice-Chancellor at MDH.

At the moment, MDH has not yet been able to study the charges themselves.