A UCD student from India has begun a petition calling on the college to compensate international students who paid substantial fees to study at UCD only for their year of study to be disrupted by Covid-19.

Aaditya Shah said he started the petition because the quality of the education international students received this year is not what they signed up for. Students from outside the EU pay fees of up to €55,000 per year to study at Irish universities.

"Many of the international students have taken out loans to pay the hefty fees that UCD charges and are still paying rent in Dublin," said Aaditya.

"Considering the lesser quality of education we are receiving, we are asking UCD to provide compensation for this."

Aaditya has returned to India since UCD closed its campus, and moved from in-class learning to distance learning.

"I am living in a different timezone and I have limited access to resources like high-speed connectivity, access to hard copy of books from the library, meeting facilities to brainstorm on group tasks."

The campaign is being supported by UCD's Students' Union.

In a statement the union said that international students had paid upwards of €30,000 for an educational experience that they expected would include library access, lab access, and practicals.

"Students understand that this is an unprecedented situation but no one in the world would pay that much for an online course, and no university would charge it. So we need to talk about compensation," graduate officer of UCD's student union Conor Anderson said.

The union said more than 150 students have written to UCD seeking compensation but have not received any.

More than 1,100 students have signed the petition, more than 80% of whom are international students at the college.