Third year students were left confused after a contradictory email from the University suggested that they had to pay their library fines in order to graduate.
In a previous article by Nouse the University confirmed that they were unable to prevent students from graduating because of such fines, as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) prohibits it. A recent report by the OFT showed that three quarters of UK higher education institutions have policies that could prevent students from graduating if they owed even minor non tuition-fee debt.
The email, which details graduation procedures, says “All library fines and any outstanding fees owed to the University must be paid by 09:00 GMT on Friday 27 June 2014. If you have outstanding financial obligations after this date it may affect your graduation.”
When asked to clarify their position on the issue, a University spokesperson told Nouse:
“The University does not prevent students from having their award conferred or from attending their graduation ceremony as a consequence of a non-tuition fee debt (eg. a library debt, outstanding fine, accommodation, etc), and has never done so. In the event that a student had an outstanding tuition fee debt, we would normally withhold their certificate until such time as the debt had been cleared.
“We acknowledge that the guidance provided in the email sent earlier this week inviting students to register for graduation was not sufficiently clear in this regard and will review and update this immediately.”
One third year student expressed their joy with the University’s position, saying: “I’m very glad to hear we won’t be prevented from graduating. I think the Uni definitely need to be clearer about this sort of thing.”