Credit Control and Debt Management Policy

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1 Financial and Commercial Services AC 19/09-10 Credit Control and Debt Management Policy FIRST DRAFT For consultation Policy Schedule Policy title Policy owner Policy lead contact Committee approving Date of approval Date of implementation Version no. 1 Related Guidelines, Procedures, Codes of Practice etc. Review interval Credit Control and Debt Management Policy Finance Directorate Keith Waddingham Financial Regulations Annually

2 Contents Introduction Purpose of Policy Standard Terms and Conditions Tuition Fees Financial Requirement for All Students Payment of Fees Home/EU Students Full payment of fees sent to the University in advance of the academic period of study Full payment of fees made during the academic period of study Home and EU Students - Registering after September Payment of Fees Overseas Students Payment of fees Part time Students Payment By Sponsor Returning Students with Outstanding Debt Early withdrawal from a programme of study Payment of accommodation charges Payment of Library fines and charges Payment of other invoices Overdue Student Debt Collection Procedure Sanctions against Students Advisory Services & Money Matters Commercial Debtors Overdue Commercial Debt Collection Procedure Authority to write off debts

3 Introduction This policy document contains the terms and conditions under which debts owed to the University of Bradford are managed and controlled. The policy contains details on; When, where and how payments are made Availability of Payment Plans The sanctions that the University has available to effect payment The help available to students should they have problems Terms and conditions applicable to sponsors and other commercial debtors. 1. Purpose of Policy The aim of the Credit Control and Debt Management Policy is to ensure that the debt profile of the University is managed effectively, that debt owed to the University is paid in a timely manner, that debt payment is maximised and any potential bad debt is minimised. The University has many sources of income, which are collected by different methods. This policy specifically covers the collection of tuition fees, sponsorship income, accommodation and commercial debt. The Credit Control Team and Payment Services Team based in the Hub of the Richmond Building provide assistance and advice to the University on credit control and debt management issues. It is however essential that all University staff be aware of the importance of cash management and fully co-operate with finance and credit control staff who manage the administration process. 2. Standard Terms and Conditions Tuition Fees Financial Requirement for All Students All students on a programme of study at the University of Bradford are required to pay tuition fees and other charges for each academic year prior to or within the period of study for that year. Fees will be due at the start of each academic year or period of study for the whole programme or course. In specific circumstances provision may be available to pay fees in instalments during the academic year. Progression through a programme of study may be affected if this obligation is not fulfilled. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the necessary funds are in place to pay their fees. Undergraduate full time UK/EU students can apply to SLC (Student Loan Company)/SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland) for financial assistance with tuition fees. If a student intends to apply to an organisation i.e. SLC/SAAS, or has sponsorship for assistance in paying their fees, they must do so in good time. The University will need to see documentation from such an organisation or sponsor, confirming the level of financial assistance it will give, at registration or commencement of studies. 2

4 Should the University have not received evidence that funding is in place by November of each Academic year the student will be liable for any outstanding fees. 3. Payment of Fees Home/EU Students The following options are available to all home and EU students who are responsible for the payment of their fees. NOTE: acceptance of one of these payment methods is a condition of registering at the University. 3.1 Full payment of fees sent to the University in advance of the academic period of study. The University offers the facility to allow students to pay tuition fees in advance prior to registration. If the student chooses to pay their share of the fee in full, they can do so in a single instalment. Refer to for the latest details on ways to pay. An advance payment discount may be available in certain circumstances see www for the latest discount offers. 3.2 Full payment of fees made during the academic period of study. A student can take the option to pay the full fee on enrolment at the University or agree to pay the fee in several instalments over a period of time using a direct debit agreement, see www for a Direct Debit form. Self funding students paying fees in excess of 4,500 must pay 50% of the fee on registration with the balance paid over two or four instalments. Self funding students paying fees of less than 4,500 may opt to pay in 3 or 5 equal instalments. Further information on payment plans is available at www The University reserves the right to charge an administration fee if your direct debit is rejected. Details of any outstanding University debts will be provided by the Credit Control Team or Payment Services Team on request. Alternative ways to pay tuition fees are available to students including debit and credit cards, bank transfers, cheques or postal orders further information is available at www. 3.3 Home and EU Students - Registering after September The same payment options are available to students registering after September as for other students. These students will still be allowed to pay by instalments but should be directed to contact the Finance and Credit Control Team to arrange an appropriate payment plan. 4. Payment of Fees Overseas Students The same payment options are available to overseas students as for Home and EU students see section 5 above. However, overseas students are required to make a payment of at least 50% of fees on or before enrolment. Instalments can then be agreed to pay the balance. The 3

5 latest information available on the terms for payment for oversees students is available at www. Advance payment by way of a deposit towards fees is required from students from selected overseas countries. The minimum deposit required is currently set at 2,000 to obtain an unconditional offer letter to enable the student to apply for a study visa. Further details are available on www. or from the Student Support Centre International Office. NOTE: acceptance of one of these payment methods is a condition of registering at the University. Students from some countries with foreign exchange controls need to obtain documentary evidence of enrolment before a transfer of funds can be made. In these cases the University will seek confirmation from the authorities in the student s home country to verify approval to enrol on the course and to ensure there are no objections in principle to funds being released. Temporary enrolment documents will then be provided to release the funds. Once these have been paid to the University enrolment will be completed. In most cases the University s formal offer letter will be sufficient to enable release of funds. 5. Payment of fees Part time Students Students entering part-time courses of study must have the necessary funds or sponsorship in place to pay the tuition fees. The full amount may be paid in advance, at the time of registration or by instalments by direct debit through the duration of the course. Students should be directed to contact the Payment Services Team if a payment plan is required. 6. Payment By Sponsor If the student has arranged for the fee to be paid in whole or in part by a sponsor, it is important that the student provides proof of the sponsorship to the Payment Services Team, so that the sponsor can be invoiced. Standard payment terms of 30 days apply. In the event of a sponsor defaulting on payment, it is the student s responsibility to arrange an alternative source of funding or to pay the fees. The student will be invoiced for all outstanding fees in the event of default. 7. Returning Students with Outstanding Debt Students returning to the University must have paid all outstanding debts (including library debts) before they can re-enrol. Any student returning to their next year of study must not have debts outstanding from any previous academic years. Before the new academic year commences students will receive written notification from the University that they will be unable to re-enrol if debts are not paid. Once the debt is cleared the Credit Control Team will notify the relevant Schools so full enrolment can be confirmed. 8. Early withdrawal from a programme of study Before a student makes the decision to withdraw from a course of study they should be directed to seek guidance and advice from the Student Support Centre in the Hub. The full financial 4

6 implications of early withdrawal will be discussed with the student including potential for financial help so they can consider their options before making any final decisions. The Money Doctors Team in the Student Support Centre provide financial advice and help to students their details can found by using the following link Fee refunds and administration charges 1. Students who enrol, either conditionally or unconditionally and subsequently withdraw during the first four weeks of registration will be entitled to a full refund of fees subject to an administration charge. 2. Students who transfer to a different institution in the first four weeks will have fees transferred to their new institution, to the extent that they have paid fees to the University of Bradford. 3. Students, who withdraw after the first four weeks but before the end of the academic year, will be liable to pay a proportion of the annual fee, on a monthly pro-rata basis related to the period for which the student would have been in attendance. 4. Overseas students (from selected countries) required to pay a 2,000 deposit prior to enrolment, who subsequently fail to enrol will not receive a refund unless satisfactory documentation is provided to confirm the reason for non-enrolment was an unsuccessful application for visa to enter the UK. 9. Payment of accommodation charges Students staying in University owned accommodation will be provided with a tenancy agreement for the period of rental. On acceptance of an offer for a place in halls the tenancy agreement must be returned with an advance rent payment (currently 250) to hold the room. This advance rent payment is deducted from the total charge. Accommodation charges will be invoiced and must be paid immediately at the start of the tenancy agreement unless payment by instalments has been agreed, normally by three payments Students will remain liable for accommodation charges for the full term of the tenancy agreement regardless of use. The agreement may however be taken over by another student subject to negotiation with the site manager. Full details on accommodation terms and conditions are available from the Accommodation Office or by accessing the Accommodation section of the website on www. 10. Payment of Library fines and charges The Learning Support Services (LLS) Rules and Regulations set out the borrowing entitlements and associated level of fines and charges payable including the restrictions that apply, when fines fall due and/or items are not returned. Further details are available at Failure to return the items and/or pay the outstanding fines or charges will result in LSS forwarding invoices to the Finance department for further action under this policy. 5

7 11. Payment of other invoices All miscellaneous debt will be invoiced by the University with payment terms requiring payment within 30 days of the invoice date. 12. Overdue Student Debt Collection Procedure Sanctions against Students Whilst the procedure to collect outstanding debts is specific to each case the following steps will be taken: A written reminder sent to all addresses held, requesting payment within 7 days and to inform the student that failure to clear any arrears will result in withdrawal of access to University facilities. A further reminder is sent after 7 days giving notice that facilities will be withdrawn if payment is not received. If no response is received facilities are withdrawn 14 days after the missed payment. This will include IT and Library access. Providing the student makes contact with the Credit Control Team and agrees a mutually acceptable payment plan, facilities will be re-instated. If no further response is received, 21 days after the missed payment, a letter is sent to the student s local and home addresses encouraging them to contact the Credit Control Team to discuss payment and to highlight that non-payment may result in exclusion. Subsequent failure to respond will result in an exclusion letter to local and home addresses and the School, 28 days after the missed payment. If the student makes payment at any point they are re-instated following consultation with the School and can continue their studies. Students will not be able to re-enrol for a new academic year or be able to graduate until all outstanding debts are paid. If a student leaves the University with outstanding debts this is confirmed in writing with a further request for payment or to contact the Credit Control Team to arrange a payment plan. This reminder gives 14 days notice of referral to a debt collector or for legal action. If no response the debt is referred to a debt collection agency to escalate the process. Debts outstanding from overseas students are referred to a debt collection agency in the student s home country. If this is not successful legal action is considered based on the merits and likely costs involved in each individual case. 6

8 Where facilities have been withdrawn from a student and a debt is subsequently settled access can normally be re-instated on the same day between 9.00am and 5pm on a Monday to Friday. Outside these hours access will be re-instated the next working day. 13. Advisory Services & Money Matters The Hub Student Support Centre includes a team specifically to offer advice if a student is struggling financially the Money Doctors. Services include, financial support, budget advice, dealing with payment difficulties, dealing with banks and the Jobshop. More information is available by using the following link www. 14. Commercial Debtors Payments due to the University from commercial organisations are invoiced by the Payment Services Team. The University s standard payment terms are 30 days and detailed on all invoices unless otherwise stated. 15. Overdue Commercial Debt Collection Procedure Sending reminders to debtors is the sole responsibility of the Payment Service Team. In most cases, this will follow an automated process dictated by time and responses from the debtor. Whilst the procedure may be adapted to specific cases the following steps will be taken to recover debt: 1. First reminder from the University - sent once the invoice terms have been exceeded 2. Second reminder from the University sent 7 days after the invoice terms have been exceeded 3. Final reminder from the University sent 21 days after the invoice terms have been exceeded 4. Direct contact by telephone throughout the process by the Finance and Credit Control Team 5. Referral to a Debt Collection Agency failing any action from follow up 6. Legal action failing success of the Debt Collection Agency subject to merits and costs case by case Invoices will be treated as individual transactions when reminders are issued. They will only be withheld from the debt collection process by the Credit Control Team for justifiable mitigating circumstances. The Credit Control Team will liaise and review circumstances on a regular basis with the School or Department originating the debt. 16. Authority to write off debts Delegated authority to write off University of Bradford debt is as follows: Invoices up to 300 Invoices over 300 Director of Finance & Commercial Services Academic Strategy & Performance Committee 7

9 A report is provided to Academic & Strategy Performance Committee detailing all debts recommended for write off with reasons. These bad debts are subject to internal and external audit scrutiny. Draft version 1 KW 1st March 2010Table of Contents 8

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