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Admissions complaints and appeals

This information applies to applicants who wish to appeal against a decision on their application.

If you're a current student who wishes to make a complaint or appeal, please consult our guidance on Student Complaints.

Scope of the Policy

The admissions process:

The process of admissions relates to the period from initial enquiry to the completion of enrolment. Where a student has completed enrolment they would normally use the student complaint procedure.

This complaints and challenges process covers applicants to all accredited Further Education, Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses, including research degrees delivered at the University of the Arts London. The process also covers admissions related to Erasmus exchanges onto courses at the University of the Arts London.

Courses run through franchises would have their own internal processes for handling complaints and challenges but would follow UAL regulations.

Collaborative courses with other institutions would follow the complaints and challenges process of the lead institution as defined in the contract.

The following is not covered by this policy:

  • Courses delivered by other institutions through the UALAB Awarding Body
  • Short courses delivered by Artscom
  • Any issues relating to another university department which may be better considered by that department’s complaints process
  • Scholarships
  • Pre application management of enquiries such as open days

Definition of Admissions Complaint and Challenge

A Complaint is normally a specific concern related to a procedural error, irregularity or administrative error in the application process. Complaints can cover a wide range of issues including the way in which an application has been handled, the outcome of the selection or fees classification, or the way in which an applicant has been interviewed. Concerns cannot be raised about academic judgement. A complaint needs to be dealt with flexibly, quickly and as close as possible to the point in time at which it arises.

A Challenge to an admissions decision is normally a request for a formal review of the outcome of a selection, the wording of the conditions of an offer or a fee assessment decision.

Challenges against academic judgement will not be considered. Academic judgment is defined as a judgement about a matter where only the opinion of an academic expert will suffice.

A challenge will only be considered if:

  • There has been an irregularity in the conduct of the application process, which was material enough to affect the outcome of the application
  • If an applicant believes there was an irregularity in the processing of the Fee Assessment Form, which may have affected the outcome of the fee status

The process of making a Complaint or Challenge

An applicant may wish to raise a concern regarding the way in which, for example, their application has been dealt with or the way in which they have been communicated with.

An applicant will often raise an issue by telephone or email and the member of staff initially responding to that issue is responsible for listening to the concerns in full, taking note of all relevant information. If the applicant is not content with the response given by the member of staff, they should be asked to make a complaint or challenge, the procedure for which is given below.

Concerns about an application can only be raised by a third party on behalf on an applicant where the applicant has given consent for the third party to represent them and consent to the University of the Arts London to discuss the case with the third party.

Most complaints or challenges can be resolved satisfactorily at an early stage. An applicant is encouraged to first raise their complaint or challenge with the  by telephone or email and the member of staff initially responding to that issue is responsible for listening to the concerns in full, taking note of all relevant information. If the applicant is not content with the response given by the member of staff, they should be asked to make a formal complaint or challenge, the procedure for which is given below.

  • Complaints or challenges must be made no more than 20 working days after the communication of the admissions decision or after the cause of the complaint arises or in the case of fee assessments, prior to enrolment in the year in which the course commences;
  • A formal complaint or challenge should be made in writing, by email, to the Head of Admissions at admissions.complaints@arts.ac.uk;
  • The Admissions Team will acknowledge receipt of the complaint or challenge within 5 working days;
  • The Head of Admissions will ensure that an admissions investigator is appointed to investigate the case. The admissions investigator designated to deal with the case will have no prior involvement with the case;
  • The admissions investigator will conduct an initial investigation within 5 working days of appointment.
  • Where further evidence is required to support the complaint or challenge this must be received from the applicant within 10 working days of a written request unless there is an exceptional reason as to why the required evidence cannot be provided.
  • The Head of Admissions will consider the case and make a decision based on the facts and evidence provided and whether the Complaint or Challenge will be upheld and if any further action is needed.
  • Once all required evidence has been received from the applicant a written response to the applicant's complaint will be made formally within 10 working days.  This written response will mark the completion of the Complaint or Challenge and the Head of Admissions will expect not to enter into further communications on the matter.
  • Not all investigations will be able to meet the deadline; for example, some complaints or challenges are of a complexity which requires a more detailed investigation, or there have been unavoidable delays in obtaining relevant information to the case. Where there are clear and justifiable reasons for extending the timescale, the Head of Admissions will notify the complaint of such an extension giving reasons.

If an applicant is not satisfied with the decision reached by the Head of Admissions an appeal can be made to the University Secretary and Registrar in writing, either by email to admissions.complaints@arts.ac.uk within 10 working days of the decision. The University will only accept a complaint after this period in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the University Secretary and Registrar.

This may be allowed, at the discretion of the University Secretary and Registrar, on the following grounds:

  • If, in the view of the University Secretary and Registrar, there is evidence of significant administrative or procedural error in the processing of the Complaint; and/or
  • If, in the view of the University Secretary and Registrar, there is new evidence which the applicant was unable to provide as part of the Complaint and which may alter the decision. The reasons why this information was not available at the time of application must be given.

The University Secretary and Registrar will normally acknowledge receipt of the Appeal within 10 working days, and respond to the appeal within 20 working days of receipt. If for any reason the investigation continues beyond this deadline, the applicant will be informed of the reason for the delay and when they can expect a decision.

Where a complaint is upheld (fully or partially), University Secretary and Registrar will inform the Admissions Service or the relevant academic department as to any actions to be taken. Any further actions or reconsideration to be taken will be communicated to the applicant directly via the Admissions Services or relevant academic department within 10 working days of receiving the University Secretary and Registrar's decision.

The University Secretary and Registrar's decision is final and no further appeal or review is permitted.