Students United Against Fees is one group within a loose coalition of student activist groups operating under lockdown and protesting under lockdown. It called a small but lively open-air rally in London on Sunday 13 June.
The group calls for a 30% immediate refund on tuition fees in return for higher interest rates on loans. The refund is compensation for loss of in-person lectures, library and other student facilities as well as exorbitant rents. The group, led by a handful of full-time elected officers from Student Unions, got some press coverage for their idea last month.
It is fair to say the “refund now” but not “pay later” part of the message was emphasised at the rally on Sunday. And most who spoke, including from Liberate the University, said: “Ok to a refund, but what we really need is free education.”
This student year has seen the return to popularity, and a winning of a consensus among activist students, for the demand for free education, campaigned for through rent strikes and fee strikes. That orientation needs to be consolidated next year with a return to (likely partial) in-person study on campus.