Non-payment of fees
Arrangements concerning the non-payment of fees and charges
These arrangements are for those students on Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (“OUDCE”) award-bearing courses where OUDCE collects the course fees. Students whose course fees are collected by their college should refer to their college. Those on non-award-bearing courses should refer to their course Terms and Conditions.
This guidance refers to the University’s arrangements for the non-payment of course fees, according to the University’s Examination Regulations, Regulations on Financial Matters, Section I, §3 (“the Regulations on Financial Matters”). It provides procedural guidance for students registered on an OUDCE award-bearing course where the Department, rather than their college (if they are a member of one), is responsible for collecting their course fees.
Although a key purpose of the arrangements is to protect the University from incurring bad debts, these arrangements also support the University’s general approach of seeking to assist students who fall into financial difficulties, where timely intervention, rather than allowing a situation to drift, will generally produce a more satisfactory outcome.
If a student is having difficulty in paying their fees, they should talk to their department or college (whichever they pay the fees to) at the earliest opportunity.
Failure to pay fees when due will normally lead to suspension of status (“suspension”). During this suspension, the student’s access to all of the services and facilities of the University will be removed.
Suspension can be rescinded and full access to University facilities and services restored on application following receipt of all outstanding fees or charges, or where a new instalment payment plan is agreed.
A student may be removed from the University’s Register of Students if the outstanding fees or charges have not been paid in full within two terms of the commencement of any suspension imposed under the Regulations on Financial Matters.
A student may apply for reinstatement to the Register of Students. Any such reinstatement, which is not automatic, will be conditional upon payment of all outstanding fees and charges.
An appeal can be made against sanctions imposed following the non-payment of fees.
1. University regulations
a. The applicable regulations are within University’s Examination Regulations, Regulations on Financial Matters, Section I, §3.
b. OUDCE will seek to balance a sympathetic approach to students in financial difficulty against the not insignificant cost to the University of managing such cases. Nevertheless, the Department is obliged to follow the University’s procedures if a student has not paid their fees when due.
c. The modular and/ or coursework-based nature of many of OUDCE’s courses means that some interpretation of the University’s regulations may be required. For example, for course fees comprising have annual, module and dissertation fees, the annual and dissertation fees should normally be paid in full at the beginning of the academic year, whereas the module fees should be paid before each module takes place.
a. To be valid, fees instalment payment plans must be agreed in writing with OUDCE, and arranged before course fees become due. It should not be assumed that instalment plans are necessarily available for all courses: students should check this for their course with the course administrator.
b. If an instalment payment is not made in full when due, then the instalment plan is normally deemed to be terminated, and the total unpaid fees will therefore become due immediately (this is intended to avoid a situation of rolling debt). The procedural steps described below will then be applied, unless, exceptionally, a new instalment plan is agreed.
3. Procedures following a failure to pay course fees due
Step 1: Identification of unpaid fees
a. OUDCE will identify instances where course fees and charges, or a fees instalment plan payment, remain unpaid after their due date.
Step 2: Notification
b. Where reasonably possible, OUDCE will endeavour to alert the student that formal notification is impending. Ideally, this would result in swift resolution before further actions become necessary.
c. OUDCE will formally notify the student of their unpaid fees, and will request payment within four weeks from the date of this notification (“the required date”), advising that if payment remains unpaid after four weeks, the student will ordinarily be liable for suspension.
d. OUDCE will inform the Registrar (through the University’s Student Fees and Funding Office), other relevant University staff and the student’s college (if they are a member of one) that they have so notified the student.
e. The Student Fees and Funding Office will also contact the student, emphasizing their liability for suspension if full payment is not received by the required date.
f. If the fees due are paid in full by the required date, this will be acknowledged and the matter will be considered as resolved.
g. If the student fails to fully pay the fees and charges due by the required date, they will be sent immediate confirmation of their suspension (normally by the Student Fees and Funding Office), to take effect from the following day. They will also be notified of the arrangements for the surrender of their University Card.
h. During suspension the student’s access will be removed to all of the services and facilities of the University, including libraries and computing facilities, and their University email account; the student must surrender their University Card; and they may not attend any University teaching, submit work for assessment, nor receive marks.
i. Suspension will continue until either (i) the outstanding fees and charges have been paid (or a new instalment plan has been agreed), or (ii) the point is reached at which the student is removed from the Register of Students.
j. If, during suspension, the fees or charges due are paid in full, or a new instalment payment plan is agreed, the student may apply for reinstatement, referring to the OUDCE Academic support web page and contacting the course administrator).
k. If the fees or charges due have not been paid in full within two terms of the commencement of suspension under the Regulations on Financial Matters procedures, the University shall have the right, having first considered the circumstances of the case, to remove the student from the Register of Students.
l. A student who has been removed from the Register of Students may apply to the University's Education Committee for reinstatement. Any such reinstatement, which is not automatic, will be conditional upon payment of all outstanding fees.
4. Return of fees arising through the application of the non-payment of University fees procedures
In some cases where a student has withdrawn, has been suspended, or has been removed from the Register of Students (whether due to the non-payment of fees or some other reason), it may be appropriate to return to the student their fees, or a proportion of their fees, that they have already paid. The mechanism for returning fees is described under Section 1, §3, 3 (e)-(f) of the Regulations on Financial Matters.
a. In the first instance the student should raise the issue with OUDCE.
b. If, and only if, OUDCE is unable to resolve the issue, including through communication with the Student Fees and Funding Office, then the matter may be referred to the Joint Panel on Remission of Fees, which will consider appeals against suspensions that have been imposed as a result of the non-payment of University fees, and other issues relating to the non-payment of fees. Further information is also available in Section 1 §3, 3 (e)-(f) of the Regulations on Financial Matters.