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The number of complaints made to the higher education ombudsman for England and Wales has risen for the sixth year in a row.

A total of 2,850 complaints were received by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) in 2022, a 3 per cent increase on the 2,763 lodged in 2021, which itself represented a 6 per cent rise on 2020, when 2,604 were registered. It means that records for the number of complaints in the sector have been set every year for the past three years.

The number of complaints had been rising steadily even before the pandemic, with the last decline recorded in 2016, when grievances fell to a low of 1,517.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on universities’ operations exacerbated the trend, and sector leaders might have hoped to have seen a decrease in 2022, a year less affected by lockdown measures or other restrictions.

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