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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.

  • Admissions Complaints or Challenges should be made no more than 20 working days after the communication of the admissions decision or after the cause of the complaint arises.
  • A formal complaint or challenge should be made in writing, either by email or letter and should be sent by the applicant to the Head of Admissions.
  • The Head of Admissions will confirm if the complaint or challenge is within the scope of the policy. They will then confirm in writing to the applicant that the Complaint or Challenge has been received and will be investigated indicating to the applicant that they can expect a response, normally within 20 working days.
  • The Head of Admissions will ensure that an Admissions Investigator is appointed who is independent from the issues under consideration.
  • The Admissions Investigator will conduct an initial investigation and forward all related paperwork to the Head of Admissions with a recommendation for action. The Head of Admissions will discuss the case with the University Secretary and Registrar and will ensure they have a full understanding of the case before making a response.
  • A written response to the applicant’s complaint will be made normally within 20 working days. This written response will mark the completion of the Complaint or Challenge and the Head of Admissions will expect to not enter into further communication on the matter. A Completion of Procedures Notification will therefore be included in the response to the complaint.
  • All correspondence and any notes relating to the case should be retained by the Head of Admissions.