Terms & Conditions for Students
These terms contain important information concerning your agreement with the Royal College of Art (“RCA”) and you should take time to read them before accepting a place at the College. Please contact the RCA for clarification if there is anything in these terms that you do not understand.
We explain below the basis upon which the Royal College of Art (“RCA”) will provide your programme, and the obligations which you have both as an applicant and as a student. These terms create obligations that are legally binding both on you and on the RCA. If you accept an offer to study at the RCA, these terms will form your agreement with us.
1. In these terms:
“RCA”, “we”, “us” and “our” refers to the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU.
“You” and “your” refers to you the student or applicant. Please note that these Terms and Conditions apply to the RCA’s postgraduate taught programmes, postgraduate research programmes and any pre-sessional programmes. These terms do not apply to other RCA programmes (such as the RCA Post-Experience Programmes), which have their own terms.
An offer is considered as “accepted” by the applicant when the applicant confirms in writing or by email their acceptance of a written offer made by the RCA
Legal framework2. The RCA operates within a framework of laws which can apply to it in certain circumstances, for example:
(i) The Consumer Rights Act 2015 and other consumer laws, which contain various provisions intended to protect consumers’ interests. These can include the interests of students and applicants.
(ii) The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which contains provisions requiring higher education institutions to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism, and also to cooperate with a local panel which has “the function of assessing the extent to which identified individuals are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism”.
(iii) The Data Protection Act 1998, which sets out the principles on which individuals’ personal data may be processed.
(iv) The Education (No 2) Act 1986, which contains measures to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the RCA and for visiting speakers.
(v) The Equality Act 2010, which contains provisions promoting equality of opportunity and prohibiting unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
(vi) The Human Rights Act 1998, which contains provisions making it unlawful for public authorities to act in a way which is incompatible with certain rights under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
3. These legal duties can change if the law changes. These terms are subject to those laws and any changes to these or other laws that the Government brings into effect.
Accuracy of information we provide about your programme4. The RCA makes every effort to ensure that the information provided to you about your programme is correct, and that we do not omit telling you about important information that might affect your decision to study at the RCA. Occasionally it may be necessary to update published information, including the online prospectus or other web pages, due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory or academic reasons. The RCA will endeavour at all times to keep any changes to such information to a minimum and to keep you informed appropriately.
Accuracy of information you provide to us
5. It is also important that you provide accurate information in your application to study at the RCA. If it is later found that your application contains false or misleading information or material omissions, then we may withdraw any offer to study at the RCA. If you disagree with any decision made by the RCA to withdraw an offer of study on this basis, you may ask the Registrar (or her/his nominee) to review such a decision within 14 days of the date it was notified to you. You will need to provide the Registrar (or her/his nominee) with any evidence to support your request for review.
Applicants and students with disabilities6. Students and applicants with disabilities are encouraged to notify the RCA at the earliest opportunity so that any appropriate support arrangements can be provided. We recommend that you contact the RCA Student Support team so that they can help advise you and notify the relevant contacts at the RCA as appropriate.
Your agreement to comply with the RCA’s regulations, policies and procedures
7. By agreeing to these terms, you are also accepting the RCA’s regulations, policies and procedures. These contain some important provisions, including, but not limited to, those outlined below.
8. There are important provisions concerning academic misconduct, governing how the RCA will ensure that students’ work is their own, and what the College will do in cases where students have submitted work that is not their own work.
9. The RCA’s Regulations (rules and/or conditions that students and staff must comply with) can be found on the RCA webpages at: https://www.rca.ac.uk/more/official-information/governance/RCA-regulations/
10. These regulations include the “Academic Regulations” which set out, among other things:
(i) The awards that the RCA makes (different types of degree and other awards);
(ii) The requirements for approved programmes of study, including the circumstances and conditions under which the RCA may allow a period of study to be interrupted where a student is ill or has another adequate reason;
(iii) The power to terminate a student’s registration for lack of academic progress or failure to meet the requirements of the programme, including failure at examinations;
(iv) The power to terminate a student’s registration as a misconduct or academic misconduct penalty (see paragraph 13 below).
(v) Regulations for Research Degrees which include timescales for submission and examination of any thesis, and requirements for awards.
11. These regulations also include the “General Regulations” which set out, among other
(i) The fees payable for programmes of study;
(ii) Ownership of rights for student work;
(iii) Regulations relating to student exchanges;
(iv) Regulations regarding use of IT facilities, which apply to anyone using RCA’s IT services or facilities. Breach of these regulations may be a disciplinary matter under the RCA’s misconduct regulations (see paragraph 13). These regulations also explain what monitoring of IT and library facilities is undertaken and in what limited circumstances the content of messages might have to be disclosed, in accordance with relevant legal frameworks.
(v) Regulations regarding use of Library facilities, breach of which may be a disciplinary matter under the RCA’s misconduct regulation (see paragraph 13)
12. The Academic and General Regulations are updated annually. The update supersedes the previous version and applies to all students irrespective of their year of first registration.
13. The RCA’s policies (commitments made by the College) can be found on the College’s webpages. Policies are updated on a regular basis and apply for students from their date of adoption by the College, when they supersede all previous versions.
These include, but are not limited to:
(i) The RCA’s Fair Admissions Policy, which specifies the College’s commitments in considering applications to the College as well as matters such as the requirement to provide satisfactory criminal records checks where appropriate, the requirement to ensure than an appropriate visa is in place and that you have complied with the requirements of UK immigration authorities and proficiency in the English language (including a requirement to provide certificated proof of competency in English). The Policy also outlines the College’s reservation of the right to terminate a student’s registration, or take disciplinary action, if, as an applicant, they provided untrue or inaccurate information during the application process.
(ii) The Student Complaints Policy, which explains how the College will respond to complaints, with guidance to students on how they can submit formal complaints, and which also explains where students can obtain assistance or advice in relation to complaints (or potential complaints). The regulations also set out provisions for appealing to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
(iii) The Policy on Academic Appeals, which sets out the limited grounds on which decisions of assessment boards or examiners may be challenged, and the possibility of further pursuing an appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
(iv) The Policy on Student Misconduct, which sets out how the College will consider allegations made against students concerning their conduct while at the College. Students found to have breached the provisions of this Policy may be subject to a range of sanctions, including termination of their registration without refund.
(v) The Policy on Academic Misconduct, which sets out how the College will consider allegations of academic misconduct (such as plagiarism or collusion) during their studies. Students found to have breached the provisions of this Policy may be subject to a range of sanctions, including termination of their registration without refund.
These and other policies may be found at College Policies and Codes of Practice.
Updates and changes to RCA’s regulations, policies and procedures14. During your agreement with RCA, the College may update and replace its regulations, policies and procedures from time to time in order to ensure that it operates efficiently for students, and meets relevant legal and regulatory obligations. Important changes to the regulations, policies and procedures will be appropriately notified to students.
Enrolment15. It is a requirement when you enrol for each year of study that you comply with RCA’s enrolment procedures, which are explained on our website. These may include requirements to supply identity or other documents.
Tuition fees and deposits16. You are liable for payment of the tuition fee specified in the College’s General Regulations. This applies even if your fee is to be paid by a sponsor; where the sponsor does not complete payment, you will be required to arrange payment from an alternative source.
17. 50% of your tuition fee for the academic year will become due on the first day of the first term of each academic year; the remainder will be payable by the first day of the second term of the same academic year, with the exception of programmes which complete within 15 months (see paragraph 18). If your tuition fees are not paid when they are due, this can result in you being suspended, not being allowed to enrol, not being allowed to graduate, not being allowed to participate in the RCA Show and/or having your registration as a student of the College terminated without refund.
18. For programmes that are completed in 15 months, 50% of your tuition fee for the academic year will become due on the first day of the first term of the first academic year; the remainder will be payable by 30 April in the same academic year. The
tuition fee will be calculated as one fee for the whole programme rather than an annual fee. If your tuition fees are not paid when they are due, this can result in you being suspended, not being allowed to enrol, not being allowed to graduate, not being allowed to participate in the RCA Show and/or having your registration as a student of the College.
19. Please also note that the College reserves the right to charge interest on unpaid fees, and that debt collection fees may be recovered from you, and also that an administration fee may be charged in respect of dishonoured cheques.
20. The amount of your tuition fees may vary depending on whether your fee status is classified as a “Home/EU” or “Overseas”. Information about fees and funding is available at Tuition Fees.
22. Where a student is in receipt of an authorised Career Development Loan, then the College shall enrol a student on receipt of documentation confirming that the loan shall be paid, assuming that the loan is sufficient to cover at least 50% of fees. 50% of
the fee shall become payable to the College in such circumstances one day after the scheduled disbursement of the first loan payment. Payment of the remainder of the loan shall be in accordance with the usual payment schedule described in these terms and conditions.
23. Where you are responsible for paying all or part of your tuition fees, we require payment of a deposit. Details of the amount of the deposit and deadline for payment will be set out in your offer letter.
24. The deposit paid will be credited against the first instalment of fees that you are due to pay.
25. Deposits are non-refundable except where:
(i) you cancel your acceptance of a place within the stated cancellation period (see paragraphs 46–49);
(ii) you do not meet the conditions of an offer of a place and the RCA is unable to confirm your place on the programme.
26. Students will be invoiced for fees before the commencement of their programme.
27. Students who receive loan funding direct are responsible for making payments to the RCA in the same way as self-funding postgraduate students.
28. If you are a student being partly or fully sponsored by an external body agreeing to pay your tuition fees, you should provide a valid sponsor letter on or before enrolment. The invoice will be sent directly to the sponsoring organisation. Payment of the invoice is due 30 days from the invoice date. A student sponsored by a friend or relative will be regarded as responsible for their own fees. In the event of non-payment of part or all fees by the sponsoring organisation, the outstanding amount will be invoiced to the student and be payable within 14 days. The student will, in these circumstances, be directed to RCA Student Support to discuss their financial plans and any available alternative sources of funding. If you are receiving part funding of your tuition fees from your sponsor then the part that is self-funded will be invoiced to you in the same
way as for other self-funding students.
29. Any variation to the arrangements specified in these terms in relation to payment of fees may only be approved with the explicit, written consent of the Registrar.
Tuition fee increases30. Tuition fees are charged annually (with the exception of programmes that are completed within 15 months, for which only one fee will be charged at the outset of the programme). Most programmes last more than one year, and it is likely that tuition
fees will increase annually, reflecting the changes in costs of delivering your programme and any changes in government policy or regulation.
31. In such cases, the RCA reserves the right to increase fees annually to recognise these changes. This may mean that any tuition fee increases apply to overseas fees status students, but not to home/EU fee status students, where those fees may be
subject to a cap imposed by regulatory requirements. Where such increases are necessary, the RCA will give affected students not less than three months’ notice before the start of the academic year to which the fee increase is intended to apply.
32. Any such increase shall also be subject to any restriction on such increases imposed by legislation or regulatory requirements.
33. Where a student takes a leave of absence or is required to repeat part or all of their programme, the tuition fee charged will be the tuition fee for the year that the student returns to.
Pre-sessional English Course Costs
34. Students who do not meet the required English Language assessment standards, as described on the College website, may be required to take a pre-sessional English language programme at the College as part of their programme of study. This course includes an additional cost, of £3,000, payable prior to enrolment.
Other costs35. You are responsible for your own living expenses, travel and accommodation costs. If the programme you are studying requires other costs to be incurred as part of the programme (for example if there is a compulsory field trip), then this will normally be notified to you at the beginning of term and in any event no later than five working days
before the trip is scheduled to take place.
36. Costs of materials that students use on their programme will differ from programme to programme; applicants should contact their Head of Programme to discuss. In general, the College provides workshops, including heavy machinery (such as printing presses) while students are expected to pay for consumables such as paint or textiles.
When can we make changes to programmes or close programmes?37. The RCA will only make changes to programmes, or close programmes after the acceptance of an offer in the limited circumstances set out below. Examples of “changes” include changes to the content or structure of programmes, or to the location or method of teaching or assessment, or to the type of award. The circumstances where changes may be made or required are:
i. Where changes are in students’ overall interests, for example because of developments in teaching practice or technology, new assessment methods, or where a campus redevelopment or restructuring of the RCA means that teaching locations change to a different site; or
ii. Where a key member of staff is no longer available (e.g. through illness or resignation) and suitable alternative teaching or supervision arrangements cannot be provided. This might be where the member of staff concerned has a particular specialism which cannot be adequately covered by other members of RCA staff, or by other resources (e.g. temporary staff) that the RCA would normally engage in such circumstances.
iii. Where a teaching location becomes unavailable for reasons outside the RCA’s control, for example because of flooding or fire.
iv. Where regulatory or government requirements mean that changes have to be made to better ensure compliance. Examples of such changes might be changes to how the RCA is required to operate because of changes to immigration rules or other laws/regulations.
38. Where changes or programme closures are proposed or have to be made for the reasons outlined at paragraph 38 above, the RCA will take all reasonable steps to minimise disruption to students. This will include:
i. Informing students of the changes in advance, and giving them appropriate opportunity to comment on the proposals.
ii. In the case of substantial changes (for example, closing a programme during a student’s studies), consulting with students to seek their views on the changes/proposals and any potential alternatives or steps to minimise the impact on students.
39. The RCA only closes programmes in exceptional circumstances. If it is ever necessary to close a programme to new entrants, the RCA’s preferred approach is to continue to teach the current students on that programme until they have completed their studies.
If exceptionally this is not possible, as part of the approach at paragraph 38 above, the RCA will explore other options with the affected students, for example by considering whether:
i. current students’ programmes can be completed at another institution; or
ii. current students can be offered places on alternative programmes at the RCA.
Disclosure and Barring Service checks40. The RCA is very mindful of any duties it may have under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended) (“SVGA”). These duties may apply (for example) in the case of:
i. Students who are aged under 18; or
ii. Students who are “vulnerable adults”; or
iii. Students who may come into contact with vulnerable adults or children during the course of their studies.
41. The RCA expects all its staff, students and contractors to be alert to any concerns about the welfare of children or vulnerable adults and to report any such concerns they may have, however apparently trivial, as soon as possible to the Registrar.
42. The SVGA may require the RCA to:
i. Check whether certain individuals are barred from undertaking activities regulated by the SVGA, and/or to undertake criminal record checks; and
ii. Supply certain information about individuals to the Disclosure and Barring Service, for example, where the RCA considers someone to pose a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults.
Offers and programmes which are conditional on criminal records/Disclosure and Barring Service, ATAS or Occupational Health checks
43. The RCA may withdraw an offer, refuse to admit you or may withdraw you from your programme or research activity , for any failure to comply with the terms of any requirements (whether imposed by legislation or regulatory requirement, or otherwise reasonably required by the RCA) that your offer, studies or research activity require, including:
i. Satisfactory criminal record/disclosure and barring service checks;
ii. An Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (including compliance with its terms);
iii. Satisfactory occupational health checks (but subject to the RCA’s obligations under the Equality Act 2010 in respect of students with disabilities).
44. If you believe a decision by the RCA in respect of such matters is incorrect, you may invoke the relevant complaints policy.
Visas: you must comply with any visa requirements45. If you require a visa to study in the UK, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct visa throughout your programme. You must comply with any conditions that apply to your visa, including in relation to attendance, and our requirements for monitoring attendance. You must also present original copies of appropriate documentation upon enrolment, including your passport, confirmation of any previous qualifications relevant to your study at the RCA, confirmation of English language qualifications (where appropriate) and Biometric Residence Permit, which the RCA will keep copies of in your student file. If you fail to comply with any conditions, the College may report this to the UK immigration authorities in order to comply with the RCA’s own duties under immigration law. If you lack the required permissions to study in the UK, or attached to any permission then the RCA may refuse to admit or enrol you, and may withdraw you from your programme. If you believe such a decision is incorrect, you may invoke the Student Complaints Policy (see paragraph 13).
Your cancellation rights46. You have the right to cancel your acceptance of a place at the RCA for any reason (including if you change your mind) during a 14 day cancellation period (the “Cancellation Period”), which will start on the day you accept an offer from the RCA.
47. To cancel your acceptance, you must clearly inform us in writing of your decision to cancel before the Cancellation Period has expired. We ask that you do this via email. Alternatively, you may contact the RCA Registry by letter.
48. To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the Cancellation Period has expired. We do not have to have received it before the expiry of the Cancellation Period.
49. If you cancel your acceptance within the 14 day Cancellation Period, we will reimburse any tuition fee payment including any deposit received from you as soon as we can, and no later than 14 days after the day on which you informed us of your
decision to cancel your acceptance.
Limitation of our liability to you and others50. Nothing in these terms and conditions will limit or exclude the RCA’s liability for death or personal injury arising from our own negligence, or for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation.
51. Otherwise, our liability to you with respect to the provision of your programme, the cancellation, postponement, or amendment of the programme, any negligence, any breach of these terms and conditions, or arising in any other way out of the subject matter of these terms and conditions, is limited to the total amount of tuition fees paid by you in respect of the programme.
52. For the purposes of paragraphs 50–51 “RCA” also includes RCA officers, employees and agents, and those paragraphs may be enforced by such officers, employees and agents. Otherwise, neither party intends that any of these terms will be enforceable by any third party.
No liability for acts outside our control53. We shall not be liable to you arising from matters outside our control. This includes but is not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack, war (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, or failure of public utilities or transport systems.
How we use your personal data, and students’ obligations54. The RCA’s Privacy Notice explains what data we might hold about you, how we use it, who we might share it with and the reasons for doing that.
55. Students who are involved in dealing with other peoples’ personal data (for example in some research projects) must ensure that they abide by the requirements of data protection law (which contains requirements about security of personal data, and how such data is used and shared). They should refer to relevant policies (for example RCA’s policy, or a placement provider’s policy if applicable) and seek guidance from their tutor or supervisor where appropriate. The RCA’s data protection policy is available here.