Getting into debt can happen to anyone, so we’ve included some practical steps below you can follow to try and get on top of your finances. Also, see our section on Consumer Debt and Arrears.
The first thing to do is to make sure you are getting all the money you are entitled to. If you’d like help with this process, sometimes called Income Maximisation, contact the Advice Centre staff who will be happy to check this for you.
Rent is your biggest priority. Never, ever skip this months rent because you think you’ll catch up next month. You won’t. Nothing is more important than the roof over your head. Don’t kid yourself that the landlord can’t really make you homeless. If you fall behind with your rent you are putting yourself at risk of eviction.
Having said that, you do have some rights as a tenant — your landlord has to go through a set legal procedure in order to evict you, and you’ll probably find you have some time to sort things out. If you are worried, call into The Advice Centre for a confidential chat with one of the advice workers.
If you are struggling with your accommodation costs, and you’re getting all the student loan you are entitled to, you might be entitled to some help from the HEI Discretionary Fund or University Hardship Fund. Ask at the Student Services desk in the Fraser Building or call into the Advice Centre for an application form.
Debt owed to the University
The University has a pretty strict policy on debt, which you can read here. As you’ll see, depending on your circumstances there is some room for manoeuvre.
If you are a continuing student and have debt owed to the University of £25 or more, you will not be able to re-register or gain access to the library for the upcoming academic year. In certain circumstances the University will allow you to re-register if you’ve entered into a repayment plan with them and the SRC Advice Centre can provide you with help and advice on the best way to put a realistic and sustainable offer to the University.
The SRC have been pushing to have a higher debt threshold instated since 2012 to allow students to re-register for the next academic year. With the help of Trading Standards at Glasgow City Council we met with senior staff at the University repeatedly in 2014–15 and have finally arranged to have the threshold increased from the previous £5 limit to £25. The University has also agreed to implement an independent review system for all debt repayment proposals made by students. In effect this means that if you make a repayment proposal to Credit Control at the University and this is rejected, you can ask for this to be escalated to a senior member of staff outwith the Finance Department for review.
If you are in this situation, need assistance or advice on submitting a repayment plan, or have concerns about debt or financial problems you should contact the Advice Centre.