Students threatened with late fines despite paying fees

A number DCU students were blocked from Moodle and threatened with ‘late fines’ of €170 for not paying their registration fees on time, despite being up to date with their fee payment.

One final year student, who wishes to remain anonymous told The College View: “I got an email at 5.30pm on Friday November 1st from the Fees Office saying that I hadn’t paid the appropriate fee for my registration and that I had until Wednesday the 6th of November to pay it.”

She continued: “They said that after that date my account would be blocked and they’d apply a fine of €170 to my account, but I paid my fees in full in August.

“I was really stressed out about it because it was just as reading week was starting and I needed to get on to moodle to do assignments. They didn’t reply to my email and it took me six or seven attempts to get through to them on the phone.”

After speaking with the fees office, the student did not have her account blocked but was told that her payment had not been recognised, because it had been “paid by bank draft” and she had not included her student number with the payment.

However the student told The College View that she paid her fees online with a credit card and not with a bank draft, “and I had to put my student number down in order to submit the form properly”.

Another student told The College View of a similar story; they were contacted by the Fees Office for ‘not paying their fees on time’ when they had in fact paid their fees in August.

One student who spoke to us had their fees debited from their bank account twice by the fees office. At the time of this paper going to press, they had still not been refunded the money.

Deirdre Kelly from the Fees Office responded to questions about why some students received the email and told us: “The fees office communicated and engaged students with emails before the account block was imposed. They were given one week in which to sort out any problems on their account without penalty and only students who did not respond to the email were blocked.”

“Please note that students have also been blocked for the non-return of their student declaration forms, currently we have over 120 declarations outstanding. It is very important to get these forms back as it affects the student’s entitlement to free fees”, she added.

Theresa Newman

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