Glasgow University student denied graduation over unpaid fees

Chloe Ritchie has subsequently launched a complaint against the university

A University of Glasgow student who was denied graduation over an unsettled unpaid fees has launched an official complaint against the university.

Chloe Ritchie was told in September that she could not graduate from her Master’s degree until she had paid off her outstanding fees. However, after paying these off, the university then told her that £703 remained which was due to an unprocessed direct debit payment.

The Master’s student subsequently filed a complaint against the university over the payment error, Glasgow Guardian reports.

The finance team at the university has since admitted to failure on their behalf for the mistake in processing the incomplete payment.

Chloe could enrol for graduation after filing the complaint but was told to pay the fees back in monthly instalments of £20. Unsatisfied with this outcome, she lodged a further complaint against the university to clear the debt entirely.

Chloe spoke to The Glasgow Guardian: “I’m now going to move the complaint to stage two because I’m not happy with the outcome. I understand that under normal circumstances, I’m liable to pay the outstanding tuition fees, however, I feel like it disadvantages me now at this moment in my life after you graduate.

“That’s supposed to be the last of your university experience but now I will still be paying that off while my cohort are getting on with their life and while I still have to keep paying that off for a while. And it’s also when a student is the poorest because I don’t have [a proper job]. And we have a cost of living crisis, it isn’t a great time to be chasing students for outstanding money that I genuinely didn’t know about.”

Chloe also spoke about the university’s lack of academic support for her dyslexia, for which she was partly refunded £3,333 of her tuition fees. She said that this lack of support led to her grades dropping, subsequently meaning she did not pass with distinction.

She commented: “Now reflecting, after finishing the 12-month course, I believe the university has done irreversible damage. I cannot undo my grades, I can’t take away the experience and I can’t take away the emotions I felt during that time and still feel as a result. Yes, but I’m hopeful that [the debt] can be resolved, I would like to be done with the university at this point. I want to graduate and that’d be the last hearing about Glasgow University.”

The University of Glasgow refused to comment on this individual case, however, a spokesperson said: “We remain considerate of the financial situation of all our students and have been working to ensure graduation can take place as planned and an appropriate payment plan can be agreed in due course to clear the outstanding debt.

“Management of our student debt and in particular how this relates to graduation is of the utmost importance, and we strive to ensure that our students are clear in relation to their responsibilities to clear debt ahead of graduation and look to work with them to resolve any potential issues or obstacles that may prevent this.”

“The original direct debit collection process in question was completed and reflected in the student account, however, subsequently the payment was rejected by the bank and therefore no payment was taken from the student in question.  Due to an administration error this rejected payment was not reflected on the student account at the time, and has since been updated.

“Our original communication followed our debt management policy around payment ahead of graduation but, in this instance, due to the circumstances should not have been sent. Support is available for University of Glasgow students should they find themselves with challenges in paying fees.”

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