Healthcare Tuition Fees - Value for Money Question

I am part of the first cohort to be charged for studying to be an Operating Department Practitioner. This qualification was originally covered under the bursary system but is now subject to the standard student loans system. In my case I am on the DipHE course which consists of two years at standard tuition fee and a consolidation period of 11 weeks for which we are being charged for one semester fee of £2312.

For this fee we have approximately 6hrs of contact time. The rest of the time we are out at placement. We have to complete one short exam and a short essay. In addition, during our second year were were were only university based for 8 weeks of the academic year. I understand that tuition fees cover more than direct contact time but i cannot believe that the fees we have been charged can be justifiable.

My question is does this breach any rules/regulations regarding value for money. Our course, like other healthcare courses, was transferred over to the tuition system seemingly without recognition that they do not run like a normal degree/diploma programme. The placement, which is not payed for by the university, forms the majority of our course. The university does not recognise placement as "professional training" despite the educational aims of the programme consistently referring to "inter-professional working" "professional working", "professional accountability" etc. We are not being "taught"by the university during our placement but we are being charged. Without going into too much detail here, we are subjected to large amounts of "self study, content of seminars is questionable and has not been updated in a number of years, we have been refused access to mock test results and have been consistently told "it's ok you'll learn that in practice". Due to the nature of the course we spend little time on campus and are not realistically able to access the facilities.

I have enquired as to why the course is subject to full fees and I received a dismissive letter from the University after which I felt that attempts to pursue the matter further may compromise my studies. However I cannot shake the feeling that they are, for want of a better phrase, ripping us off.

I can't find any precedent regarding value for money with former bursary funded healthcare courses and I presume this issue is only just now coming to the surface as the first round of fee paying students prepare to qualify. We are essentially completing an apprenticeship but an apprenticeship for which we have to pay thousands of pounds whilst receiving no apprenticeship wage.

My feeling is that this needs further investigation and examination but I don't know where to start. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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