Students graduating from UCLan with non-academic debt will no longer have the fear of not graduating after a successful campaign from the Student Affairs Committee.
Following a prolonged campaign from successive SAC teams over a four year period the University have decided that the non-academic debt – such as library fees – will no longer prevent a student from graduating or moving onto their next year of study. The campaign to end the sanctions on students was boosted when the National Union of Students announced a national campaign on the issue and their lobbying of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) led to an official investigation on a national scale into the issue.
As part of the investigation, statistics and non-personal data from the Students’ Union’s own Advice and Representation Centre were given to the OFT to help inform their work on the subject. This led to a report that stated that a number of higher education institutions across the UK were at risk of legal action based on their current terms and conditions. The report stated that a number of conditions were potentially in breach of consumer law and potentially even human rights.
It was with this report that the elected officers put pressure on the University and pushed for the sanctions to be changed. After a drawn out negotiation between both parties the University agreed to remove the academic sanctions in relation to non-academic debt.
The removal of these sanctions leaves the University in a position where it no longer has a means of pressuring students into paying any debt owed and they have stated that they are still in talks with the Students’ Union around how this debt collection will take place.