DCU owed thousands through unpaid fees by students

By Lucy Mangan

DCU students owe thousands to the university through unpaid fees. Credit: DCU.ie

DCU is owed €165,000 in charges by just over 100 students, says records found by the Irish Times last week.

The seven state universities and Dublin Institute of Technology are collectively owed €560,000 in fines from their libraries alone, while the universities are also owed more than €1.3million in Student Contribution Charges.

NUI Maynooth is at the top of the list, with an outstanding figure of €450,000 for charges, despite being the university with the smallest student population. DCU was one of the lowest, with the debt being spread across just 100 students.

University College Dublin and NUI Galway were not able to provide a breakdown of the debts, which is likely to increase the total amount. UCD is the largest university and is expected to have the most effect on the total charges.

Currently, the charge stands at €3,000 per year, however, over half of students attending third level education do not pay this amount due to their level of household income.

Maynooth also has the highest amount of unpaid library fees, with a total of €170,000. No other university even comes close to this figure, with University College Cork following with €135,000. This figure may be so high as NUI Maynooth does not stop a student from graduating if they have a negative outstanding balance.

DCU and UCD are also the only colleges to hire third-party debt collecting agencies to deal with unpaid balances.

NUI Galway released a statement saying that they could not provide the total amount of charges owed by students, but it is likely to be upwards of €700,000. A large amount of this sum may be due to unpaid on-campus accommodation in the college, which is a growing concern for universities across the board.
The government is now looking for other schemes that will ensure that students pay fees, such as a loans scheme.

Lucy Mangan

Image: DCU.ie