Being chased for university tuition fees that aren’t owed

Moneysaver222
Moneysaver222 Posts: 3
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edited 27 September 2022 at 8:27AM in Student MoneySaving
A couple of years ago I signed up to do a university course and paid for it using a student loan. I only completed a couple of months of the course before deciding it wasn’t for me but the loan I took out more than covered the fees for that term.

After being sent an unexpected tuition fee invoice from the university earlier this year, I sent them a SAR to find out what was going on and it looks like they input the course details incorrectly in their finance system. The course was 2 years part time with a 50% intensity each year but they put it as 25% and then changed it to 100% and then back to 25%. I tried multiple times to get them to correct the errors but with no success. SFE were equally as unhelpful as they said they had to receive any updated information from the university and couldn’t act on anything I said. As a result of the errors, SFE are also chasing me for the maintenance loan they gave me.

About a month ago, I received an email from the university saying my account was now in default and that I owed them nearly £2,000 (the tuition fees for 1 of the course’s 4 modules). I replied, reiterating everything I’d said before but I got no response. Today I’ve received a letter from a debt collection agency and was hoping I might be able to get some advice on what to do as I’ve been going round in circles trying to get the university or SFE to resolve the problem.

Comments

  • Jami74
    Jami74 Posts: 982
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    Did the university receive the tuition fee money from SFE? If so, then you'd owe it to SFE and it would show on your student loan statements. I wonder if SFE can provide you with evidence that they paid these course fees. You could show that to the university

    When you decided that the course wasn't for you, did you properly drop out of the course, ie informing the university and student finance that you were withdrawing? I wonder if you weren't withdrawn properly from the module that they are charging you for.

    With regards to SFE chasing you for the maintenance loan, you'd be expected to pay back any loan they gave you that you weren't entitled to (because you dropped out).

    Debt Free: 01/01/2020
  • Yes the university must have received the fees as they told me that I wouldn’t be able to start until they did. Looking at the info in the SAR, it seems the issue is related to the university creating new invoices and credit notes every time they incorrectly changed my study intensity. I imagine what’s happened is that they refunded them an extra payment by mistake and then decided to charge me instead. Interestingly, in the SAR screenshots they sent me, the course is clearly described as being tuition-fee funded but in another part of the document it says I’m a self-funded student so they must have changed that at some point. I’ll contact student finance tomorrow to see whether they had the fees refunded.

    When I left the course, I posted the required form to the university (they claim never to have received it) and filled in a change of circumstances form for student finance. SFE acknowledged the form but said they couldn’t act on it until they received confirmation from the university.  The SAR documents show that the university never did withdraw me from the course and instead decided to mark me down as having failed. They did this last September (4 months after I’d left).

    If I’d been withdrawn from the course at the correct time, I’d have expected to repay some of my maintenance loan. The issue is that student finance are saying I wasn’t entitled to any of it. From my reading, however, that’s not correct as you get to keep a prorated amount up until the date you leave. If they’re using the September date as my leaving date, then I shouldn’t owe them anything as that would be the end of the second term and I only received money for the first term.

  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,721
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    I’ve asked the MSE forum team to move this thread over to the student board, where there may be people more versed in dealing with university finance and SFE.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • MSE_ForumTeam5
    MSE_ForumTeam5 Posts: 881
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    Moved as requested
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