Rent arrears lead to ‘academic sanctions’

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University of Liverpool halls of residence at Crown Place. Pic © Summer Gedall JMU Journalism

The University of Liverpool (UoL) is facing criticism and accusations of unfair ‘academic sanctions’ for students failing to pay their rent.

A number of students have reported that they have had their university email address suspended and have been banned from using the library and other services as a result of not being able to pay their rent in full and on time.

Students staying at Crown Place halls of residence say they are paying up to £149.38 per week for a self-catered, single room with en suite bathroom, with undergraduates staying at Vine Court are paying £163.73 for the same package.

According to a committee paper released by the university last year, 697 students were issued with an academic sanction.

YouTube: Summer Gedall

Now some students are threatening to take legal action and have launched campaigns such as ‘Cut the Rent’ to try and reduce the costs for halls of residence.

Guild President Rory Hughes told JMU Journalism: “The University of Liverpool is one of just 6% of institutions who are still applying academic sanctions to students when they fall in to rent arrears.

Liverpool Guild of Students. Pic © Summer Gedall

“The university also makes a substantial amount of money from halls of residence which acts as a commercial income for them and is also in line with their strategy to diversify income streams rather than relying on just tuition fees.

“It’s hard to get specific data on that because the university is not inclined to give it to you.”

Second year Law student, Kennedy Myers, 20, who was sanctioned in 2017, described the experience as ‘lonely’. She told JMU Journalism:  “The student support was great, but it did take about three weeks before I was able to access my emails and account again and for me to be fully integrated back into the system.

“It was a scary time but the cherry on top for me was that my parents didn’t really understand what was going on or how to help me.”

A spokesperson for the University of Liverpool told JMU Journalism: “The University keeps its approach to sanctions for non-payment of residential costs under review and is working with the Liverpool Guild of Students and others to discuss this, and to offer additional support for students in arrears.”

About Summer Gedall, JMU Journalism