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Graduate, 30, wins £60,000 payout from Anglia Ruskin University over 'Mickey Mouse' degree

A graduate has won a legal battle against her former university after claiming that she ended up with a ‘Mickey Mouse degree’.

Pok Wong, 30, has received an out-of-court settlement worth £61,000 after complaining that Anglia Ruskin University ‘fraudulently misrepresented’ a business course for which she enrolled in 2011.

Ms Wong graduated with a first-class degree in international business strategy in 2013 but felt claims in the university’s prospectus that it was a ‘renowned centre of excellence’ that offered a ‘high quality of teaching’ were untrue.

Pok Wong, 30, has received an out-of-court settlement worth £61,000 after complaining that Anglia Ruskin University ‘fraudulently misrepresented’ a business course for which she enrolled in 2011

Anglia Ruskin University, which has campuses in Chelmsford, Cambridge and London, strongly disputed her allegations but has now agreed to pay her a £15,000 settlement plus £46,000 towards her legal fees.

She had been seeking £60,000 in damages plus her legal fees.

Experts believe that her success could tempt others who are unhappy with the quality of teaching they received at university to take legal action.

Ms Wong, who now lives in Hong Kong, told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘The payout means this is a victory for me, despite the university strenuously fighting my case and denying any responsibility.’

She added: ‘In light of this settlement I think universities should be careful about what they say in prospectuses.

‘I think they often make promises which they know will never materialise or are simply not true.’

Speaking ahead of the settlement last year, she said: ‘Although I graduated with a first-class degree in 2013, it is a Mickey Mouse degree.’ 

Anglia Ruskin University, which has campuses in Chelmsford, Cambridge and London, strongly disputed her allegations but has now agreed to pay her a £15,000 settlement plus £46,000 towards her legal fees

She argued that it had proved useless in her efforts to secure ‘a rewarding job with prospects’.

Anglia Ruskin, which holds a mid-ranking in UK university league tables, said that because the settlement was out of court, nothing had been proved in law.

A spokesman said: ‘Ms Wong’s longstanding litigation... has been settled at the instruction of our insurers to draw a line under these matters and to prevent a further escalation of their legal costs.

‘The claims were wholly without merit and resulted in cost orders made against Ms Wong by the Central London County Court on two occasions.’

In 2017, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints against six universities – Leicester, East Anglia, Strathclyde, Falmouth, Teesside and the University of West London. 

It said that universities had to be able to prove claims that they made about their status.

A spokesman for the National Union of Students said Ms Wong’s case ‘indicates a way students can seek recourse’.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, students typically graduate with debts of about £50,000.

Some, particularly those who attended lower-ranking universities and studied arts or humanities, end up earning less than non-graduates. 

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