Student Tuition Fee Debt Management Policy
Students have ultimate liability for the payment of Tuition Fees.
Students remain responsible for Tuition Fees even where sponsorship agreements are in place. The University will always seek to recover Tuition Fees directly from students in cases where payment from other approved sources is not forthcoming.
The only exception is for students on programmes directly commissioned by a third party and where enrolment is at the request of an employer or organisation that has contracted with the University to supply educational services.
The University will from time to time publish a full set of the Tuition fees that current and future students must pay and have in place a Fees Policy, the latest version of which can be viewed at
Students are required to pay the Tuition fees applicable to their programme/s.
The University reserves the right to take appropriate action against students who fail to pay their Tuition Fees, or make satisfactory arrangements to pay.
Sanctions will include:
- Suspend the student from their course
- Not permit student to re-register
- Withdrawal of IT rights and/or disabling Student ID card
- Not issue a final award certificate
- Not permit attendance at Graduation Ceremony
- Not issue an academic reference
- Take legal action to recover the debt
- If a student pays the debt in full, the suspension process will be fully lifted
Students are advised to contact Student Credit Control, by telephone on 0118 378 4244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if they are unable to pay their Tuition Fees in full by the due date/s. In those cases of genuine difficulty the University will take reasonable steps to collect the debt, which may include some form of payment plan, although this is entirely at the University’s discretion.
The University will issue up to four reminder emails in weeks 4-11 of the normal enrolment period. Full details of these stages are given below*.
After the second standard reminder email has been issued a third email will attempt to arrange a meeting with any student who owes the University more than £500*.
The purpose of this initial fee review meeting is to establish and agree the full facts and history around the debt and non-payment and should not be seen as antagonistic or challenging. The University aims to support each student as far as it can and will seek to find a solution appropriate to the circumstances. It should be noted however, that there is a presumption that all debts should be cleared by their due date. The meeting should aim to conclude with a plan for discharging the debt, or with a decision on one of the other courses of action open to the University.
The meeting must be attended by the student. It will be chaired by a senior member of the Credit Control Team. They have the right to bring a friend or companion; the role of the friend or companion is to support and observe but not to participate. A ‘friend’ for this purpose, is defined as: an adviser from Reading University Students’ Union Advice Service team, a current member of staff of the University of Reading, a currently registered student of the University of Reading, or a RUSU Student Officer. A person who does not fall within these categories will not be able to act as a ‘friend’ unless otherwise agreed by the Chair. Students with a disability may also be accompanied by a Support Worker in addition to a ‘friend’, as appropriate to their needs a representative from Student Services and Finance Transactional Services will attend. Other University representatives may be invited where appropriate such as from the student’s School. The Finance Transactional Services representative will take notes and circulate these afterwards to ensure all agree they reflect the discussion held.
If a student fails to attend the review meeting, the University reserves the right to move the case to the stage in the Collections process that it deems appropriate.
At the end of the meeting there should be a mutually agreed plan as to how the debt will be cleared. The Finance Transactional services representative has the authority to agree to an instalment plan, provided the final instalment is received before the end of the current academic year. Instalment plans depend upon individual circumstances and should not be seen as offering any standard credit terms, for which we have no licence. The plan agreed should be confirmed to the student in writing, with details of who to contact if there are any further problems in meeting the agreed payment amounts and dates and setting out the potential consequences of failing to meet the debt. The student will be asked to confirm in writing their agreement to the payment plan by signing a payment plan form.
If any of the terms of the payment plan are not met, then the debt collection process is resumed and no further arrangement is entered into with the student unless there are particular extenuating circumstances, and at the sole discretion of the Head of Transactional Services or the Front Office Manager.
Although the debt sits on the student’s debtor account, the invoice is addressed to the Sponsor, therefore normal credit control procedures for trade creditors will be applied, including written reminders and telephone follow up with the sponsor. If the sponsor does not clear the debt due, responsibility will revert to the student and the normal sanctions will apply.
*If a student does not follow the normal pattern of enrolment, they will enter the Collections process at the appropriate point.
Debt Collection Timeline
Stage 1 - Week 4 after invoice or statement has been issued
Where payment is not received, and student is self-funding, Student Credit Control will contact the student by email (email 1) to request the payment. The email will explain the possible consequences of non-payment, e.g. suspended use of facilities/suspension of returning students.
If the student is sponsored, Student Credit Control will contact the sponsor to request payment. An email will also be sent to the student explaining the possible consequences of non-payment by the sponsor, e.g. suspended use of facilities/suspension of returning students.
If the student indicated during enrolment that they are being sponsored but have not provided a sponsor letter to Student and Applicant Services, they will receive the same reminder as if they were self-funded, with the additional request to provide full sponsor details if applicable.
Stage 2 - Week 5
Student Credit Control email students (email 2) with tuition fee debt (including sponsored students) advising that their access to Library and Blackboard facilities will be suspended due to non-payment.
(Students with debt that is non-tuition fee related will be sent a further reminder, advising them that late payment fees now apply.)
Stage 3 - Week 6
Student Credit Control provide the Student systems team (RISIS) with a list of all students who have an overdue tuition fee debt, for consideration for suspension from their programme of study.
Stage 4 - Week 7/ 8
Student Credit Control will contact students by email (email 3) requiring them to attend a fee review meeting. Students with an overall debt total of less than £500* will not be asked to attend a meeting, and the debt process will move straight to the following stage. For International students on a Tier 4 visa, once students are suspended from their course, the University of Reading is the sponsoring University and is required to withdraw visa sponsorship. The student is then advised that the Home Office will cancel their visa and the student must leave the UK. For this reason, the offer of a fee review meeting should occur before suspension as the student should not be engaging with the University or studies if we have withdrawn sponsorship for their visa.
If the student agrees to a fee review meeting then the stages in the process are suspended pending the outcome of that meeting. Normally the meeting must take place within 10 working days from the date of email 3. Unless the fee raised is not due for any reason the only acceptable outcomes from the meeting are payment in full or in exceptional circumstances a payment plan is agreed and put in place.
Stage 5 - Week 9
Where there is no response and/or payment is still not received, Student Credit Control will contact the student by both email and a letter to their home address to advise them that unless full payment is received within five working days from the date of the letter, they will be suspended and will be referred to a debt collection agency and may be subject to legal action.
Stage 6 - Week 11
Where payment is still not received, Student Credit control will refer the student and their debt to the approved debt collection agency, and refer the student to the relevant University process that may result in withdrawal/exclusion. The Student Records Team will notify the School by email. Both the Student and School involved must understand and be very clear about the immigration implications of the situation.
Stage 7 - Within 10 days of end of week 11
Suspended and excluded Tier 4 visa students will be reported by the Home Office Compliance Officer to the UK Visas and Immigration department, withdrawing sponsorship for the Tier 4 student visa within 10 working days of the suspension/exclusion taking effect. Students will be required to return home and will need a fresh CAS at some point in the future if they intend to re-enter the UK. All outstanding tuition fees must be paid and evidence provided to show the student can meet any future financial requirements of a future Tier 4 visa in order for a new CAS to be issued.
Students eligible to graduate
For each graduation period, a report will be sent from the Finance Department to Exams & Graduation and Student Records, listing all students who still have an outstanding tuition fee balance to pay. Any student listed will then be sent an email reminding them that with this outstanding tuition fee debt they will not be allowed to graduate. This email also provides a deadline for which payment can be made, normally by the end of May, although deadlines are set by Exams and Graduation. An updated list is then sent Exams & Graduation to Student Credit Control and the students are emailed every week for the following three weeks, so four emails in total. Students with any outstanding tuition fee debt (regardless of its date) will not be allowed to book on or attend any graduation ceremony.
Enrolment and Reenrolment
The whole process is designed around Students enrolling normally around their programme and not attempting to reenrol if a debt exists.
*All charges will count towards the total debt for the purposes of the £500.00. This will include, amongst others:
- Sports Park fees
- Library charges
- Field trips
- Late payment fees
Updated April 2018