Dismay over delayed stipend payments to PGR students

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Fraser McGowan and Lauren Holt
Editor and News Editor

Postgraduate Research (PGR) students have not received their stipend payments today as expected, owing to an administrative delay caused by the Easter bank holiday, the Glasgow Guardian understands.

The University of Glasgow, which makes stipend payments to PGR students on behalf of funding bodies, ‘failed to adjust’ the date of the Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (BACS) process to take into account the bank holiday. The process was run a day later scheduled, hence the delay in payments being made to students.

It is understood that payments will now be made on 1 April 2016 – a day later than expected. It is unclear when the delay was first known about by the University, but a number of PGR students have intimated to the Glasgow Guardian that the delay may have been known about for up to a week before students were made aware of it at lunchtime today.

Concerns have also been raised over an email in which it was claimed that the University’s head of financial aid expressed the view that “one day would make no difference” to PGR students awaiting payment.

PhD student and PG convenor for the College of MVLS Bob Rooney told the Glasgow Guardian: “If there was a mistake then all PGR students should have been notified well in advance by the finance office, however, this didn’t happen. They only sent an email at 1.08pm today acknowledging this mistake, which is just unacceptable. They must have known a lot earlier that this.”

He added: “This apathetic attitude towards students is very distressing. I cannot envisage in any walk of life were this would be deemed acceptable especially after not giving any prior notice. I can’t just say to my landlord that I will pay my rent a day later because ‘one day would make no difference.’ Overall, the way the University has dealt with this issue has been appalling.”

MyCampus generates a list of dates that PGR students are meant to be paid on, but it has been alleged that those dates are often ignored by the University when making stipend payments.

A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: “An issue with our BACS run process has resulted in the University making stipend payments on the 1st of April instead of 31st of March.  We have contacted students affected to apologise for this error and any inconvenience.

“We are investigating what caused this issue to ensure that this will not happen again in the future. We will offer refunds to any students who incur bank charges, and further support is also available to any students who suffer any further financial hardship as a result of the error.”