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Cov Uni Students Told To Pay Up Or Else

More than 600 students at Coventry University are being told to pay up or stay away from lectures in a row over tuition fees.

Many have already been barred access from library facilities and will not have examination papers marked if their debt is not settled.

And a spokesperson for the university said today that the 625 full-time, part-time, post-graduate and international students are being excluded because they still owe the £1,050 fee.

Cyrrhian Macrae, director of corporate communications for the university, said:

“Our position stands that those students who have not paid their fees will not be allowed to use facilities such as the library and will not be entitled to sit examinations.

“We will not be barring access to examination halls or checking for proof that fees have been paid – that would be distressing for everyone. If they do sit exams but have not paid their fees the papers will be put aside for seven days.

“If within that time they make the debt good, the papers will be marked. If not, they will be kept back until September when they will be marked if the fees have been paid over summer. This means they will still be able to graduate with their peers.”

The Labour Government introduced tuition fees in 1998 to help fund more university places for students whose family income falls below £20,000 a year.

And Macrae says that the money earned from students is now a vital source of income and that help may still be at hand for those in financial trouble.

She said:

“We know that some students are experiencing difficulties, but so are many of the thousands who have already paid their fees.

“This is not extra money the university is asking for, it is an essential part of our operating income.

“We are encouraging students to go along to the Student Union advice centre to make sure they have explored every avenue of financial help. They could qualify for hardship loans or access grants to help them pay their fees.”

No Student Union official was available for comment, but Paul Hunt, chairman of the university’s Free Education Society, said last week:

“This has come at the worst time possible for us. Some final year students are being barred from lectures and expected to magic up £1,050 in a matter of days.

“It is like getting to the top of a flight of stairs and having the carpet ripped from under you on the last step. There is no way most can pay and the time has come for all students to stand firm and get this issue on the election agenda.”

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CWN / Education / Universities / Coventry University / 15 May 01
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