University debt policy “unlawful” and “unfair”

The policy may be in breach of consumer protection laws because it was applying academic sanctions to students with non-academic debt.

Our Vice President for Education Kate Powell spoke to Herald Scotland recently about the University’s current debt policy. At present the University can prevent students from re-registering for the next academic year if they have a debt of over £25, regardless of what the debt is owed for. University College London implemented a similar policy last year and were forced to amend this policy by the Competition & Markets Authority as they asserted that it was unlawful for any University to impose academic sanctions for a non-academic debt. (Non-academic debt generally means anything other than tuition fees or field trip expenses.)

We believe that at present the University of Glasgow’s debt policy and Calendar regulations allow them to impose academic sanctions against students for non-academic debt and are thus in breach of consumer protection legislation. As such we will continue to campaign against what we believe is an abuse of the unique position of power the University holds over students until this policy is brought into line with relevant legislation.

If you are prevented from re-registering due to debt, speak to the SRC Advice Centre to see what your options are in this situation.

Herald article: In-debt students ‘penalised unlawfully’ by Glasgow University