Credit: Chloe Ritchie

Student challenges University after being denied graduation

By Odhran Gallagher

A student at the University of Glasgow who was denied graduation over an unpaid debt has launched a complaint against the university.

University of Glasgow student Chloe Ritchie has complained to the University after being forced to pay back a debt which they were originally told was cleared. In September, Ritchie was told that she would not be permitted to graduate from her Masters until outstanding student fees had been settled. After paying off her outstanding debt she was told that a further £703 of debt remained because of an unprocessed direct debit payment.

The University’s finance team admitted responsibility for the error in processing the payment. After lodging a complaint, Ritchie was allowed to enrol for graduation and asked to pay back the debt in monthly instalments of £20. However, she now says that she feels this outcome is unsatisfactory and has lodged a further complaint to the University to clear the debt entirely.

Chloe Ritchie told 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 really 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.”

The start of Ritchie’s course was also affected by a lack of academic support for her dyslexia, for which she was partially refunded £3333 of her tuition. According to Ritchie, the lack of support led to dropping grades and her consequently not passing with distinction, on which, Ritchie had this to say: “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.”

While the University does not comment on individual students, a spokesperson issued us with the following statement: “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.” 

They also provided the following background information: “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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