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Student Complaints

If you received your decision on 1 October 2017 or later please see


If you received your decision before 1 October 2017, the Review of decisions of the Applications Committee (Statutes and Ordinances, 2016, p. 109-110) procedure provides for the independent consideration and review of a decision taken by the Applications Committee in respect of allowances of Terms (permission to go out of residence, to return into residence etc.), its powers under the regulations for Allowances to Candidates for Examinations, and related matters, such as:

  • examination allowances for undergraduate students who as a consequence of illness or other grave cause have been unable to take their examinations or have under-performed as a consequence;
  • exceptional permission to go out of residence (leave to disregard), permission to return into residence, and allowance of terms for the purpose of being in standing to take examinations or proceed to the BA;
  • exclusion for good cause of names of candidates from classlists;
  • fee remission or reduction of the University Composition Fees payable on the basis of severe hardship or other sufficient cause;
  • leave for non-members to attend certain lectures or use certain facilities

Other information about the Applications Committee, including the Committees Notes of Guidance for students and Tutors, is provided by the Student Registry at:

In the first instance, requests for review should be directed to 

Students are advised to discuss any issues they are facing with their College Tutor.  Students can also receive free independent advice regarding any University procedure from the Students' Unions' Advice Service at

Q. How do I appeal a decision made by the Applications Committee?

If you believe that something has gone wrong in the decision-making related to your application, or you have additional information material to your case you may request a review of any decision made by the Applications Committee. This shall include an explanation as to why any additional information could not have been provided earlier.

It is recommended that any such request should first be discussed with your Tutor, before sending the details of your request to within three weeks of receiving the original decision. 

Q. Is there a deadline for submitting an appeal?

Yes. Any request should be received by within three weeks of the original decision having been communicated to you in writing. If you make a request later than this you should explain why you were unable to make the request earlier; only in exceptional circumstances will late requests be accepted.

Q. What should I include in my request?

Any new or additional information which you consider could change the decision of the Committee, and for which there is good reason for not previously having submitted. You should also include an explanation as to why you believe the original decision to be incorrect.

Q. What will happen once I have submitted my request for review?

If your request is in time, the Chair of the Applications Committee will first consider the request submitted to identify whether there is any relevant additional information. If so, the case will be reconsidered at the next meeting of the Committee and you will be informed of the decision.

If the Chair finds that there is no relevant additional material, or if the Committee has reconsidered their decision and it has not changed, a Reviewer will be appointed. The Reviewer will be a member of academic or academic-related staff who has had no previous involvement in your case.

The Reviewer will be provided with your submitted request; all information that was available to the Committee when making its decision, except for any confidential medical evidence; relevant Ordinances and Notes of Guidance; and an opinion from the Committee.

The Reviewer will consider whether there is evidence of:

  • inadequate consideration of the matter by the Committee;
  • the Committee having made a decision, to the detriment of the student, which is inconsistent with the relevant Ordinances or its own Notes of Guidance;
  • or material circumstances of which the Committee was unaware that would have led the Committee to have reached a different decision.

Q. Will I need to attend a meeting/hearing?

The Reviewer will only hold a hearing if they feel that the written documentation is not sufficient to reach a full adjudication on the case. As a procedural review, this is not normally required.

Q. What will the outcome look like?

You will receive a written report, normally within six weeks, from the reviewer which will include findings of fact, conclusions and recommendations. This report will be considered by the Applications Committee who will normally accept the reviewer’s recommendations. If there is disagreement by the Applications Committee, the decision will be considered by the Council (a senior decision-making body). Where recommendations or remedies have been suggested, you will be informed of any action taken, or to be taken, as a result.

Q. What if I am not happy with the final outcome?

The University of Cambridge subscribes to the independent scheme for the review of student complaints. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review procedure you may be able to apply for review of your case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). Such an application should be received by the OIA within twelve months of the University’s outcome letter. The OIA’s leaflet, An Introduction to the OIA for Students, can be downloaded from their website: and a link to the OIA Complaint Form is available on page 10.