A group of 80 students beginning their GDL at BPP University have written to the Dean complaining that using online materials is causing them "worry and anxiety" which is "completely unacceptable".
While it may seem like an unusually specific deciding factor, the petitioners claimed in their letter to Andrew Chadwick that "many" prospective students "chose the PGDL course with BPP based on the promise that hard copies of course material will be provided".
But the students said they had been "categorically told we will not receive hard copies of our study materials", and will have to make do with online materials instead.
BPP has said it will provide hard copies to individuals who qualified for learning support, but the students argued that the £30 cost of obtaining the requisite note from a clinician was a fee "some students may not be able to afford". They claimed the result was "unfair and to some extent discriminatory".
Adding that there had been issues accessing BPP's online student hub which meant they could not complete their reading for induction week, they accused the university of "incompetence" which had "caused much worry and anxiety to many of your students already, before the term has even begun". Demanding real books, they said that BPP University "intends to start induction week with a lecture on 'wellbeing' so this situation is completely unacceptable".
BPP declined to comment.
Online’s just different, that’s all.
The Uni received another angry letter in July from existing students dissatisfied with the manner in which it handled the shift from face-to-face teaching and in-person exams to a largely online experience.
At least BPP can rely on some students to put in a good word. Ten people will be studying for free after winning bursaries awarded out of BPP's £1m scholarship fund this week. “I truly believe that this has changed the trajectory of my life", said Nadia Desouza, one of the recipients. "I come from a single-parent family, and, financially, would not be in a position to fund this degree".
This summer BPP was granted indefinite degree-awarding powers, coinciding with rumours it is going back on sale.