Fee debtors tempted to pay

October 1, 1999

Students who have unpaid tuition fee debts from last year are either coughing up or just not trying to enrol for their second year.

Press coverage coupled with warning letters have encouraged defaulters to pay. Summer job earnings have also eased things, according to vice-chancellors.

Many universities have smoothed the return path for students who had not paid. The University of Central England in Birmingham has allowed defaulting students to enrol on their second year so that they can collect their loan cheques and use the money to repay the university.

Sunderland University is allowing defaulting students to enrol on their second year provided that they pay all outstanding fees, sign an agreement to pay by the end of November or persuade the university fees panel to agree to a longer-term arrangement.

Brighton University is accepting post-dated cheques and enrolling second-years with debts if they repay in instalments.

Colin Bell, vice-chancellor of the University of Bradford, said he was not allowing second-years who had not paid fees to enrol. Some 3 per cent of students have not paid, and Professor Bell is expecting them to drop out.

But a spokeswoman for the National Union of Students said it had not yet heard of any student being refused entry into the second year of a course for non-payment of first-year tuition fees.

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