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University student from Stansted says paying £9,250 a year for online degree courses should be a crime

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Student Jasmyn Pocknell is back home in Stansted working to complete the third year of her English literature degree from her bedroom rather than on campus at Bath Spa University.

The 20-year-old former Birchwood High School student, who completed her A-levels at Leventhorpe in Sawbridgeworth, is hoping for a career in marketing but is currently making coronavirus tests for the NHS at a company based near Saffron Walden while her lectures are online.

While she's back home with childminder mum Rachel, dad Olly, who runs handyman business The Odd Job Heroes, and younger sister Alex, who is in Year 13 at Birchwood, she must still pay £9,250 for her education this year. Here she has harsh words for the Government which has "abandoned her generation"...

Bath Spa University English literature student Jasmyn Pocknell is making coronavirus tests for the NHS near Saffron Walden while her lectures are online
Bath Spa University English literature student Jasmyn Pocknell is making coronavirus tests for the NHS near Saffron Walden while her lectures are online

"What should be a crime but isn't? Paying £9,250 per year for an education that barely exists, the Government completely disregarding uni students and blaming them for the spread of the pandemic, and still having to carry on as if we're OK.

"The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, but uni students have been left out of the equation and forgotten about by universities, and yet we are still scrambling to get the degree that we have worked so hard for.

"I, as well as many others, have had to leave my uni home to come back and work full-time due to the financial strain the pandemic has put upon so many people.

Bath Spa University campus by Rwendland, Wikimedia Commons (44058668)
Bath Spa University campus by Rwendland, Wikimedia Commons (44058668)

"As a critical worker providing Covid-19 tests, I have been in a stressful, draining environment and come home to even more uni work for which I have had no support.

"It's not enough to simply email tutors as students cannot get the help they need when they have to wait the hours and days it takes for a reply. We signed up for a full, interactive course – and now that we cannot have that, we are being completely ignored.

"Our generation is blamed for the spreading of the pandemic. I am not naive to the fact that there are people not taking it seriously, but this is the case for all generations, not just young people.

"What about us young people doing our part to stop the spread? Doing our part by working throughout the pandemic when many people can't? How can we still be blamed for an uncontrollable virus that would spread just the same without us?

"The Government has let us down by providing no guidance or help, and universities are left with students not knowing where they stand and how we are ever going to get a degree which society has made us believe we so desperately need, but we cannot achieve this on our own.

"Uni students have been left in the dark and somehow are expected to continue as normal. The importance of mental health is preached about so much, and yet where is the support we need now?

"Mitigating circumstances given by universities to push back deadlines aren't enough, lectures recorded from last year aren't enough, being told to 'just carry on' isn't enough to see us through.

"Our Government is taking too long to react, leaving us to believe that we are the unimportant generation who are stuck in this unfair system.

"It angers and saddens me that as the next generation we are the scapegoat for when things go wrong, and we are moved aside and deemed unimportant just when we need help the most – £9,250 a year for an online education we didn't sign up for is simply immoral."

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