"UNIVERSITY OF CUMBRIA"
Policy Document UNIVERSITY OF CUMBRIA TUITION FEE, FINANCE AND PAYMENTS POLICY Policy Schedule Policy title HE Tuition Fee, Finance and Payments Policy Policy owner University Registrar and Secretary Policy lead contact Director of Marketing and Recruitment Approving body University Senior Management Team Date of approval 25 July 2012 Date of implementation 1 August 2012 Version no. 1 Related Guidelines, Procedures, Codes of Practice etc. Review interval Annual NB. This policy is available on the University of Cumbria intranet and it should be noted that any printed copies are uncontrolled and cannot be guaranteed to constitute the current version of the policy. 1 Contents Part 1: POLICY CONTEXT 1. Introduction 2. Scope 3. Policy Aims 4. Roles and Responsibilities PART 2: TUITION FEES, SCHOLARSHIPS AND BURSARIES 5. Setting Tuition Fees fairly 6 Standard Fees, Headline Fee, Fee Discounts, Fee Variations and Fee Waivers 7. Scholarships and Bursaries PART 3: PAYMENT, DEBT AND WITHDRAWAL IMPLICATIONS 8. Paying Tuition fees 9. Non-payment of Tuition Fees 10. Other Charges 11. Withdrawing from the University, transferring or intercalating PART 4: DIVERSITY, EQUALITY AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT 12. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (with particular reference to disability reasonable adjustments) and Equality Assessment Statements 13. Records Management Statement 14. Risk Management PART 5: FURTHER ADVICE 15. Advice and Guidance 16. Contact Details Appendix 1: Definitions Appendix 2: Committee Roles and Responsibilities Appendix 3: Tuition Fee Schedule 2 PART 1: POLICY CONTEXT 1. Introduction 1.1 The University of Cumbria sets, publishes and charges tuition fees for all its courses, including sandwich placement years. This policy covers all Tuition Fees, Finance and Payments policies for full time, part time, undergraduate, postgraduate, home, EU and international students. 1.2 This policy: outlines how the University set its fees fairly describes who is eligible for fee waivers and how they are applied explains how students pay their fees for tuition and other charges explains what happens if students have to transfer, intercalate or withdraw. 1.3 The University of Cumbria is committed to widening participation, diversity and equality, and enhancing the skills of its students. The University will seek to use fee discounts, fee waivers, fee variations, and scholarship and bursaries appropriately to ensure that prospective and existing students are given the best opportunities to access courses provided by the University. 2. Scope 2.1 Students This policy applies to students who are self-funding or who are subject to individual student fees. It applies to: UK students Isle of Man and Channel Islands students EU students International students 2.2 This policy covers full time students, part-time students and sandwich students. 2.3 Courses This policy covers: Undergraduate (UG) degree programmes Foundation degrees (or equivalent, eg DIPHE, HND etc) Top Up degrees Postgraduate degrees (PG) at Masters level and PhD level 2.4 Out of Scope This policy does not cover short course students and courses. Short Course study is for fewer than 30 credits per year at UG level, or fewer than 45 credits per year at PG level. This is covered in a separate policy. It also does not cover closed cohort or bespoke provision as these will be dealt with as charges and not individual fees in a separate policy. 3. Policy Aims 3.1 The aims of this policy are: to present a transparent and fair fee structure that is common to all courses to ensure that the tuition fees charged by the University are comparable with competitor institutions 3 to ensure that the University operates procedures relating to tuition fees that are fair and consistent and in line with policy and funding body requirements. 3.2 To provide guidance for the application of fee waivers for students applying for University of Cumbria Higher Education (HE) validated undergraduate level courses. 3.3 To set the framework in which support to assist the widening of participation and diversity in HE, and the improvement of access to University of Cumbria validated courses is delivered. 3.4 To provide a clear and concise definitions to allow for clarity in presentation of fee information. 4 Roles and Responsibilities 4.1 It is the responsibility of: The Tuition Fee Management Group to create and agree the policy Senior Management Team to approve the policy managers to ensure the policy is correctly implemented and monitored, and that roles and responsibilities are clearly identified and delineated to achieve this staff members to ensure correct adherence to the policy principles 4 PART 2: TUITION FEES, SCHOLARSHIP AND BURSARIES 5. Setting Tuition Fees Fairly 5.1 The University will review this policy in September of each academic year. Revised tuition fees will be approved and published in December of each academic year. These fees will apply to the following academic year (1st August to 31st July). 5.2 In determining fee levels the University will consider nationally published guidelines where these exist, inflation and any other factors that are deemed appropriate by the University. Where fees are at the discretion of the University they are set by the Tuition Fee Management Group. The role of this group is to carry out an annual review of the tuition fee rates and consider requests to deviate from the standard fee rate. 5.3 The University reserves the right to increase its fee levels in line with sector measures for continuing students. Students will be informed of this prior to enrolment at the University, and at each subsequent registration. 5.4 The University operates a common fee structure for all of its courses based on a fixed fee per credit for similar courses. The fees are published within the tuition fee schedule. For fees covered within this policy, students will be notified of fee levels prior to enrolment. Courses which are exempt from the common fee structure are also contained within the published tuition fee schedule. 5.5 The University will operate procedures to ensure that the Tuition Fee, Finance and Payments Policy is operated fairly and consistently across the institution. 5.6 In-line with the student fee waiver policy, the University may waive or reduce tuition fees for certain students as outlined in section 6.6. 5.7 A fee discount is offered to graduates of the University of Cumbria and the legacy institutions from which it is formed. Holders of undergraduate degrees obtained from the University of Cumbria or a legacy institution can obtain a 20% discount on their first postgraduate taught course of study. A maximum discount will apply; for current maximum amount see the website. Please note that this discount does not apply to PhD courses, MPhil Research courses or PGCE courses. 5.8 The University will not usually charge additional fees for students that are covered by the government policy on Equivalent and Lower Qualifications (see glossary). However, the University reserves the right to charge additional fees if it is deemed necessary. 6. Headline Fee, Fee Exceptions, Fee Discounts, Fee Variations and Fee Waivers 6.1 Each year the University sets a headline fee to each category of course across its portfolio. However, this is not necessarily the fee which will be charged to the student. There are factors which must be considered before a final fee is charged for a programme. These are: 6.2 Fee discounts: This is when the University may decide to universally lower the fee from the headline fee for a whole category of courses which may be full or part time. 5 6.3 Standard Fee: This is the headline fee reduced by any fee exception or universal fee discount and which will be published within the annual fees schedule. 6.4 Fee Exceptions: this applies when the University recognises at the point of its annual review of fees that there are programmes which it does not want to charge the recognised fee for that programme. These exceptions are agreed and are published in the fee schedule. 6.5 Fee Variations: This is an exceptional process when the University decides, once the standard fee has been set and outside the annual review of fees, that for a particular course that the standard fee which applies to that course, cohort or a group of students (eg employer-sponsored in-fill) is not appropriate for very specific reasons. This may result in the fee being raised or lowered. A Fee Variation Group meets regularly within the University to decide on proposals put forward for a fee variation. 6.6 Additionally, the following factor must be considered before a final fee is charged to an individual student Fee Waivers: Fee waivers cover only tuition fees and not other fees such as re- assessment, graduation or accommodation fees. Nor do they cover expenses for books, course materials etc. Fee Waiver only applies to students who are: A. Both part-time and self-funded and who meet certain eligibility criteria Individual students can apply for a fee waiver based on their individual circumstances. In order to be eligible for a fee waiver, potential students must first determine whether they are ineligible to access the government funded tuition fee loan for part-time students. If the student is eligible for a tuition fee loan, then the student will be unable to apply for a fee waiver. If eligible for a fee waiver the prospective student must meet all of the following criteria: i. Be domiciled in the UK or EU (resident for at least 3 years other than for study purposes), and therefore entitled to pay home fees. N.B. Students domiciled in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man are not considered to be UK resident under HEFCE funding regulations. Students would be liable to pay tuition fees themselves. ii. Be applying for a course at undergraduate level (Burgess levels 4, 5 and 6). Therefore, fee waivers are not available to students wishing to study at postgraduate level. iii. Be applying for a course that must contain a maximum of 120 undergraduate CATS points to achieve the award. Therefore fee waivers are not available to students who enrol for example at the start of Foundation Degrees; Diplomas of Higher Education; HNDs, and honours degrees. However, students who are able to APEL sufficient credit to an award which would leave the balance of study at 120 CATS points or fewer in order to achieve that award are able to apply for a fee waiver. This includes students wishing to access top-up degrees. 6 iv All study must be undertaken on a part-time basis. Therefore fee waivers are not available for students applying to study full-time. Separate financial support mechanisms exist for these students. v. At the point of application be in receipt of one of the following benefits: Income Support Housing Benefit Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) Employment and Support Allowance (income related) Disability Living Allowance Pension Credit Working Tax Credit 6.5 Original official documentary evidence must be produced as proof of eligibility e.g. a benefit or pension book, a letter from the Dept of Work and Pensions, Local Council or Jobcentre confirming entitlement, or other equivalent/similar official document that includes the student’s name and address. Further guidance can be obtained from Learning, Information & Student Services if required. 6.6 The University reserves the right to limit the funds that are available to support fee waivers. Therefore, if demand for fee waivers is exceptionally high from eligible students, the University may introduce a cut off beyond which no further applications for fee waivers will be accepted. 6.7 Advice on this can be gained from Learning, Information & Student Services (http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/StudentLife/Support/Home.aspx) 6.8 B: In receipt of a National Scholarship Programme bursary based on certain eligibility criteria. See the website for details. 7 Scholarship and Bursaries 7.1 If a student is not eligible for a fee waiver, they may be eligible for a Scholarship or a Bursary. The University has a number of scholarships and bursaries available for its students, including: National Scholarship Programme (undergraduate students) Cumbria Bursaries (undergraduate students) Outstanding Performance Awards (undergraduate students) Achievement Scholarships (undergraduate students) The Choral Scholarships (open to all students) More information about scholarships and bursaries are on the website. 7 PART 3: PAYMENT OF FEES AND WITHDRAWAL ARRANGEMENTS 8 Paying Tuition fees 8.1 Tuition fees are payable each academic year and are due upon enrolment. 8.2 Tuition fee loans Students who have taken out a loan to cover their tuition fees from the Student Loans Company must confirm that their loan has been approved in order to enrol on their course of study. It remains the student’s own responsibility to ensure that their tuition fees are paid. If the Student Loans Company reassesses a student’s eligibility such that financial support is withdrawn or reduced, the student will be personally liable for the full amount of their tuition fees. 8.3 Self-payment of tuition fees Students who are not in receipt of a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company or sponsorship must either pay their fees in full at the start of the academic year or through three instalments in October, January and April. There are sanctions that will be applied if payments are not made to the University according to the instalment arrangements. Students from outside the European Union are required to pay 25% of fees prior to the issue of their visa, 50% upon registration and 25% before the end of the first term. In the subsequent years of a non-EU student’s course, 75% of the fee is payable upon registration and 25% is payable before the end of the first term. 8.4 Payment of tuition fees by sponsors Where student’s tuition fees are being paid for by an external organisation, the student must provide a letter of confirmation to the University’s Student Finance Team on the sponsor’s letterhead in order to enrol on their course of study. Sponsors will be invoiced for their contribution to the student’s fees after the student has been enrolled. Payment must be received within 30 days from the date of invoice. Instalment arrangements are not offered to sponsors. The payment of tuition fees remains the responsibility of students irrespective of the commitment made by a sponsor. If a sponsor fails to pay their contribution to the student’s fees, any unpaid amounts will be payable by the student. Sponsors of overseas students are required to pay 25% of fees prior to the issue of their visa, 50% upon registration and 25% by the end of the first term. 9 Non-payment of Tuition fees Students who are facing difficulties in paying an instalment or are experiencing delays in receiving their tuition fee loan must contact the University’s Finance Team immediately. Similarly, if there are changes to banking details which will 8 affect the receipt of payments, such as the cancelling of the card which was used to set up a payment plan, students should contact Finance. Where tuition fees have not been paid according to the instalment arrangements or no satisfactory alternative payment arrangements have been put in place, the University will actively seek to recover the debt and will use sanctions to achieve this including suspending IT and library access, preventing from enrolling into the next academic year and deeming the student to be ineligible to graduate. The University reserves the right to pass uncollected tuition fee debt to its debt collection agency and to take further legal action through the courts to recover the debt. To facilitate this, the University will pass details of the debt and the contact details of the student to the debt collectors. If outstanding fees are passed to debt collectors, the University will seek to recover both the outstanding debt and the costs of the debt recovery and any legal action from the student. 10 Other Charges 10.1 Accommodation and Catering Charges Where accommodation and catering fees have not been paid according to the instalment arrangements or no satisfactory alternative payment arrangements have been put in place, the University will actively seek to recover the debt and will use sanctions to achieve this. If students are in accommodation which is owned by the University of Cumbria or managed by the University of Cumbria under a Head Lease Agreement, the University will also commence possession proceedings and take legal action against the student to recover any overdue accommodation or catering fees. The University reserves the right to pass uncollected accommodation or catering fees due from these students to its debt collection agency and to take further legal action through the courts to recover the debt. To facilitate this, the University will pass details of the debt and the contact details of the student to the debt collectors. If outstanding fees are passed to debt collectors, the University will seek to recover both the outstanding debt and the costs of the debt recovery and any legal action from the student. 10.2 Other charges and debts If library charges or other fines have not been paid or no satisfactory alternative payment arrangements have been put in place, the University will actively seek to recover the debt, and sanctions that are related to the debt will be used. For example, if the debt relates to a library fine, access to the library and borrowing rights will be suspended. The University reserves the right to pass uncollected charges to its debt collection agency and to take further legal action through the courts to recover the debt. To facilitate this, the University will pass details of the debt and the contact details of the student to the debt collectors. If outstanding charges are passed to debt collectors, the University will seek to recover both the outstanding debt and the costs of the debt recovery and any legal action from the student. 10.3 Ending an accommodation contract Students may request that the Accommodation Contract comes to an end before the expiry of the Period provided that either: 9 Another student of the University, who is not already contracted into University accommodation, agrees to take over their Accommodation Contract for the remainder of the Period, and the student vacating the premises pays an appropriate administration charge. or The named student gives six weeks’ notice in writing to Accommodation Services if withdrawing from their course at the University or transferring to another institution. The six weeks period will be taken as notice to vacate the allocated accommodation and the named student will be liable for the payment of constituents of the Total Charge until the six week notice period has elapsed. If the Accommodation Contract comes to an end as above the Student will receive a pro rata refund of the total charge. 11 Student withdrawals, suspensions, transfers or intercalations 11.1 Before a student makes the decision to withdraw or intercalate from a course they must seek guidance and advice from Learning, Information and Student Services. Here they will be able to discuss the full financial implications for the student and help to decide which option is best for them. 11.2 If a student fails to complete the course they are enrolled upon as specified under HEFCE regulations for completion then they will be liable to pay the University the full amount of fees that have been waived. 11.3 If a student does withdraw during the academic year the following percentages of the annual tuition fee will be charged: UK/EU students in receipt of tuition fee loans Withdrawal/Suspension in term 1: 25% of the total tuition fee is charged. Withdrawal/Suspension in term 2: 50% of the total tuition fee is charged. Withdrawal/Suspension in term 3: 100% of the total tuition fee is charged These amounts are in line with the amount of the total tuition fee loan available from the Student Loan Company. UK/EU students not in receipt of tuition fee loans Withdrawal/Suspension in term 1: 33% of the total tuition fee is charged. Withdrawal/Suspension in term 2: 67% of the total tuition fee is charged. Withdrawal/Suspension in term 3: 100% of the total tuition fee is charged Term dates are available on the University’s website. International Students International students will not be eligible for a refund of fees paid, regardless of withdrawal date. 11.4 The timing of a students’ withdrawal will be the point at which all completed withdrawal documentation is passed to SaMIS. 11.5 In exceptional circumstances where a student is forced to withdraw from a course due to circumstances that were unknown at the time of registration, the students may request a review of the tuition fee charged. This review will be conducted in 10 line with the process agreed by the Tuition Fee Management Group. Any deviation from the policy outlined above will be subject to a review of documentary evidence, or any other evidence, which the University shall require in order to be satisfied of the entitlement. 11.6 Students who qualify for a scholarship or bursary will have their entitlements stopped on withdrawal. The amounts payable to, or repayable by the student will be calculated on a case-by-case basis using the following rules:- A student who withdraws before the end of the first term will not be entitled to any bursary/scholarship. Any amount paid to the student under a University bursary/scholarship scheme will be repayable in full to the university. A student who withdraws after the end of the first term but before the end of the second term, will be entitled to 25% of the total annual bursary/scholarship assessed as payable to them. Any amount of bursary/scholarship paid to the student in excess of the calculated amount, will be repayable in full to the University. A student who withdraws after the end of the second term but before the end of the third term, will be due 75% of the total annual bursary/scholarship assessed as payable to them. Any amount of bursary/scholarship paid to the student in excess of the calculated amount, will be repayable in full to the University. 11.7 Should a student intercalate – that is when a student takes a year out of their normal studies – all bursary and scholarship payments are frozen and the student is not entitled to any tuition fee refund. The total payments received from the student will be credited against their fee account in the year the student returns. For the avoidance of doubt, the student will pay the prevailing fee for their course under the tuition fee regime in which they first registered for the year in which they return. 11 PART 4: DIVERSITY, EQUALITY AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT 12. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (with particular reference to disability reasonable adjustments) and Equality Assessment Statements 12.1 The Equality Act 2010 covers the “protected characteristics” of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex and sexual orientation. The University has developed a Single Equality Scheme and Equality Objectives to implement the Equality Act within the University practices and procedures. 12.2 Within the Equality Act it remains permissible to treat a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person. It remains lawful to make reasonable adjustments in relation to employment, education and services to ensure that there is true equality of opportunity for disabled people. 12.3 This policy and its implementation will be monitored, as appropriate, in line with relevant legislation for its impact on different equality groups. This process will provide a check on whether there are any differences and allow the University to assess whether these differences have an adverse impact on any particular group such that appropriate action is taken. 12.4 These are important issues and further information should be sought from the University’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, as required. 13. Records Management Statement 13.1 The records associated with this policy are controlled by the Data Protection Officer and will be created, stored and disposed of in line with the University’s Records Management guidelines and procedures. 13.2 The University is committed to complying with the requirements of Data Protection legislation and regulations and any personal data created as part of this policy will be processed in accordance with the university’s Data Protection Act procedures. This includes ensuring that data is held securely, is not disclosed unlawfully and is destroyed when no longer needed. 13.3 The University also aims to ensure that users of this policy are aware of Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Records Management issues associated with this policy. 14. Risk Management 14.1 This policy mitigates the following risks in the University’s Strategic Risk Register: o Failure to analyse and respond to funding and other policy changes and their implications for the University and the region in planning for a robust and sustainable institution o Failure to design and implement effective businesses processes to serve the needs of the University 12 PART 5: FURTHER INFORMATION 15. Advice and Guidance 15.1 Information, advice and guidance about the matters covered by this document are available from a number of sources within the University. 15.2 The Student Development Advisors in Learning, Information and Student Services (LISS) help to ensure that students receive their full entitlement to student funding and helps with budgeting and money management. LISS also advises on: debt issues and offers guidance to other sources of funding which students may be able to access the financial implications of a decision to intercalate or withdraw from the University More details about the services LISS offers and the contact details for the Student Development Advisors can be found online: www.cumbria.ac.uk/LISS 15.3 The Finance Team process all payments and help students to set up suitable payment plans. The Team can be contacted for information about a student’s account including the fee that has been charged, outstanding balances, pending payments and payment history. The Finance Team can be contacted via email at: email@example.com 15.4 The Students’ Union offers independent information, advice and guidance in a range of areas, including reasons why withdrawing from the University might be a consideration. The SU can discuss other University procedures that may be appropriate to consider before taking this step. 16. Contact Details For further information regarding any of the issues covered by this policy please contact: Student Information Point University of Cumbria http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/StudentLife/Support/YourStudies/CourseInformationPo int/Contact.aspx 13 Appendix 1: Glossary Full-time: study that amounts to the achievement of 120 undergraduate CATS points, or 180 postgraduate CATS points within the academic year. Part-time: study that amounts to the achievement of between 30 and 120 undergraduate CATS points, or between 45 and 180 postgraduate CATS points within the academic year. CATS: Credit Accumulation & Transfer Scheme. These are points attributed with modules of study. These are usually 10, 15 or 20 CATS per module at undergraduate level. CPD: Study which is for fewer than 30 credits per year at UG level, or fewer than 45 credits per year at PG level Fee waiver: where the normal tuition fee associated with a course of study is waived to a particular student upon meeting certain criteria. Fee waivers cover only tuition fees and not other fees such as re-assessment, graduation or accommodation fees. Nor do they cover expenses for books, course materials etc. ELQ: Equivalent or Lower Qualification. This is a Government policy that bars funding to students who hold the same or higher qualification to the one that they intend to study. Students who are identified as an ELQ are liable to pay an extra fee which offsets the lost funding of the course they wish to study, although certain subjects and awards are exempt from this policy. SLC: Student Loans Company HEFCE: Higher Education Funding Council for England. A Government agency that distributes funding to HE institutions according to the number and type of students enrolled. TA: Teaching Agency. A Government agency that is responsible for teaching and learning for the school workforce. NHS: National Health Service. Non-credit bearing: Courses that have no CATS points associated with them. 14 Appendix 2: Committee Roles and Responsibilities The University has agreed a structure through which tuition fees will be managed. The University has agreed three formal groups with remits which include student fees, fee waivers, scholarships and bursaries. The PVC (academic) will chair the Tuition Fee Management Group, with the lead operational manager being the Director of Marketing and Recruitment, closely supported by the Strategic Planning and Performance Manager. The membership and terms of reference have been agreed. Two further groups have also been established with agreed membership, frequency and terms of reference. These are: 1. Tuition Fee Variation/ Waiver Group 2. Bursary, NSP and Group 1. Tuition Fee Management Group Purpose 1. To propose to SMT and the University Board the University tuition fees, and ensure an up to date Fees Schedule is agreed prior to any recruitment round. This includes UG, PGCE, PGT, PGR, home and international fees. 2. To ensure an appropriate range of Fee Policies, including a fee waiver Policy, are in place and to monitor the effectiveness of these policies, making recommendations for amendment to the relevant Policy Owner. 3. To receive recommendations from the Tuition Fee Variation/ Waiver Group for Fee Variations to be included in the full Fee Schedule and to receive reports on any fee waivers agreed by the group through the year. Frequency • Three times a year • September – clarify and agree any changes to the in-year fees; approve any fee waivers for current year. • December – agree principles and modelling for fee structure for Y+2 academic year • March – agree Fee Schedule for Y+2 academic year and fee waivers for Y+1 Reporting Lines • To SMT/UMT/ Board 2. Tuition Fee Variation/ Waiver Group Purpose: 1. To advise the Tuition Fee Management Group on any fee variations which should be included in future fee schedules 2. To consider any in year requests for fee variations which require an urgent response and which are not already included within the published fee schedule as an exception Frequency • Three times a year for scheduled meetings but by correspondence or face to face to consider in year requests as and when required. Requests should be channelled through ER (Admissions) but decision making responsibility sits with the group members. Any decision must involve a minimum of 2 members of the group Reporting Lines • To the Tuition Fees Management Group and SMT as appropriate 3. Bursary, NSP and Scholarship Group Purpose: 15 1. To develop/ recommend on-going approach/ strategy to all bursaries and scholarships (UK and International) 2. To develop/ recommend specific criteria for annual use 3. To monitor effectiveness/ impact and contribution to OFFA targets of bursaries and scholarships 4. To be responsible for recommending the allocation of bursaries/ NSP and scholarships 5. To operationalise the Bursary, NSP and Scholarship schemes. Frequency • 3 times a year (annual cycle of business to be developed/ established in year 1) Reporting lines: • via WP Advisory Group and International Committee to SMT/UMT/ Board 16 17