CREDIT CONTROL AND DEBT MANAGEMENT POLICY

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1 CREDIT CONTROL AND DEBT MANAGEMENT POLICY Page Introduction 2 General Information 3 Debt Collection Policy Individual Students 4 All Other Debtors 6 1 / 6

2 INTRODUCTION The University of Northumbria at Newcastle (the University) receives income from three main sources: Central Funding (HEFCE/TTA) Tuition Fees Sponsors and Companies Each type of income is collected differently and thus the University credit control and debt management policy reflects this. The University is becoming increasingly dependant on diversifying its income sources and thus a credit control and debt management policy is vital to prevent unauthorised risks being taken with the University s resources. Overseas opportunities have provided an area of expansion for the University over the last few years. It is important that staff are aware of and capable of managing the risk associated with trading in overseas markets. Effective credit control maximises the cash flows from each area of the business and minimises the risk to the University of bad debt. It is vital that all decision makers in the organisation are aware of the importance of cash management and fully co-operate with Finance Department staff that manage the administrative process. The Finance Department in return will provide assistance and advice to other departments on debt management issues. 2 / 6

3 GENERAL INFORMATION Payment Methods The following payment methods are available: Cash (in person at the University Cash Office, No.3 Ellison Terrace, City Campus) Cheque (made payable to University of Northumbria) Bank Transfer (using bank details as provided on invoices) Direct Debit (by completing DD mandate at registration) Credit Card (Cash Office Tel ) Debit Card (Cash Office Tel ) Standard Terms and Conditions Students Tuition fees become due on the first day of a programme of study. Other Debtors University standard terms and conditions apply. Invoices are due for payment on or before 30 days after the invoice date. Payment terms can only be changed with prior agreement of the University s Finance Director. Collections Agency As part of our rigorous procedures we have engaged a specialist debt collection agency. The current debt collection agents are Bond Pearce Solicitors based in offices throughout England. The University will only pass matters into their hands where all other efforts have been exhausted. Their remit is to use the legal system to contact debtors and pursue enforcement. 3 / 6

4 DEBT COLLECTION POLICY INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS Tuition Fees The Policy for individual students details the arrangements for the payment of fees and the sanctions, which may be applied in the event of non-payment of fees by the due date. The Policy is designed to ensure that all students are treated in a fair and equitable manner with respect to the payment of fees. The Policy applies to all students including part-time, full-time, undergraduate, postgraduate, home and overseas students. Students are hereby defined as persons registered or enrolled at the University to follow a programme of study, which may or may not lead to an award or qualification. If a student leaves the University with outstanding debts, the University will pursue payment of the outstanding debt. Students are responsible for paying all fees incurred whilst studying at the University. From the start of the academic year 2002/2003 all students registering with the University will be required to pay a minimum of one half of all tuition fees on receipt of an invoice from the University s Finance Department. This payment will be collected by Direct Debit at a date advised on the invoice. The second half of the tuition fee will be collected by Direct Debit on the 1 st working day of the following February. Any student that has debts outstanding 60 days following invoice date, and who has not contacted Finance Department staff to make arrangements to pay, will be advised in writing (to term and home addresses on University records), that they are being withdrawn from the University. The Finance department will notify the Faculty Registrar that a student should be withdrawn from a course due to non-payment of fees. The Faculty Registrar will remove the student from the University administration system. This will mean that the student will no longer have a student record, be timetabled for tuition, be issued on exam lists nor will there be any marks recording. Additional to this they will no longer be able to use computer or library facilities or attend any award congregations. 4 / 6

5 Collection Procedure Whilst the procedure to collect monies outstanding is specific to each case the following steps will be taken: 1) Written reminders from the University 2) Withdrawal from the University 3) Referral to debt collection agency 1) Sending reminders to Students owing monies to the University is the sole responsibility of the Debt Management Section within the Finance Department. In most cases this will consist of a prescribed process dictated by time and responses from the debtor. 2) The sanction of withdrawal from the University will be imposed on students if arrangements to pay have not been formally agreed with the University 60 days following invoice date. Students will be informed via the Debt Management Section in writing with copies to the Faculty Registrar for action. 3) Students who leave the University will be traced via the Debt Collection Agency and debts will be recovered via due legal process. N.B. Payment by a sponsor Some students have agreements with a sponsor to pay their tuition fees. In the event that a sponsor defaults on payment, it is the student s responsibility to pay the fees. The student will be advised in writing from the Debt Management Section that liability has passed to them. Standard terms and conditions that apply to nonsponsored students will become relevant from the date of this letter. Early Withdrawal In the event of a student withdrawing themselves from a programme of study; the date of withdrawal will be the date from which the student formally advises the University in writing that they are no longer attending their course of study. The procedure for calculating any reduction in fees is as follows: The student who withdraws within four weeks of the commencement of their course (each academic year) will receive a 100% reduction in fees. The student who withdraws between four weeks and the end of the first semester will receive a 50% reduction in fees. The student who withdraws after the end of the first semester will receive a 0% reduction in fees. This applies to all students and their sponsors. 5 / 6

6 ALL OTHER DEBTORS Credit Control All new customers of the University must have relevant credit checks carried out prior to contracts being signed and work being carried out by University staff. It is the responsibility of the selling department to complete relevant credit authorisation documentation. This will be the basis of the credit checks carried out by the Finance Department. Finance staff will provide a go/no go decision based on evidence obtained within 48 hours of receipt of the completed documentation. Debt Management The University s standard terms and conditions state that payment terms for all invoices are on or before 30 days following invoice date. Exceptions to this must be agreed in advance with the University s Finance Director. Late payments will be liable to interest charges. The rate of interest will be 4% above the Bank of England base rate per annum on the full outstanding amount. Interest will be calculated from the date when the debts become overdue and when the debts are eventually paid in full. Sending reminders to debtors is the sole responsibility of the Debt Management Section within Finance. In most cases this will consist of a prescribed process dictated by time and responses from the debtor. Whilst the procedure is specific to each case the following steps will be taken to recover debt: 1) Written reminders from the University 2) Referral to debt collection agency Invoices will be treated as individual transactions when reminders are issued. They will only be withheld from the debt collection process by Finance staff. Requests to prevent reminders being issued must be made in writing to Finance and monthly reviews will take place to determine ongoing status. 6 / 6

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