The independent London newspaper

Many foreign students rack up penalty charges for inappropriate college courses here

07 December, 2017

• RECENTLY my boyfriend enrolled on a course at a business college in Holborn.

On the first day he was obliged to sign a piece of paper saying that he would have to pay a penalty fee if he decided not to continue with his course. The price rose each day longer that he stayed. After eight days he decided it wasn’t for him. The fee was an eye-watering £1,800.

My boyfriend is Brazilian, and English is not his first language. It is not even his second. It is his third, and he is still learning. The college concerned graded his English at a masters level. As an English university graduate, and primary school teacher, I can assure you his English is far more basic than that.

The college takes people’s money and puts them on courses they don’t understand properly.

Since we tried to take him off the student roll it has been a nightmare of endless unanswered phone calls and one uncomfortable meeting at the college. They told us they would decide whether he had to pay the fees and let us know. Two months later we’re still awaiting their decision.

This is a problem that many foreign students face: they come to London, pay for a course at a private college, find they can’t understand it, but they’re tied in for the year because they rack up massive penalty charges if they leave. According to my boyfriend, he was one of the best English speakers on the course.



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