Help and Advice

Support relating to student finances including loans, fees and funding, and advice on budgeting and managing debt.

This information is written for students who currently have an accommodation debt, library fine or fee or any head office costs that you haven’t paid. The University will have been contacting you regarding your debt. This page is for FAQs about what will happen after the letters from the University.

Has there been a change to the way money owed to the University is collected?

The Office of Fair Trading conducted an investigation into the practise of stopping registration or graduation with outstanding University debts. The OFT has recommended this practise could be deemed unfair in court in relation to non-tuition fee debts and so the University of Leeds no longer employs this method for those debts.  However you will still not be able to progress to the next year or graduate if you have a tuition fee debt.

How is debt collected now?

You will receive communication from the accommodation or fees office over the year if you are in arrears with the University. If you are more than 2 months behind they will pass your debt to a solicitor called the Smith Partnership. They will contact you for payment. If you continue to be unable to pay the next step is for your case to go to court. You can go to the Advice Centre for detailed individual advice about this.

What can stop me graduating or re-registering for next year?

If you owe money for your tuition fees you can not graduate or re-register.

What is a tuition fee debt? Does an exam resit fee count? Or a library fine?

A tuition fee debt is only the cost you are charged directly for your tuition fees. The resit fees or library fines are not tuition fee costs.

I’ve received a letter from a solicitor what should I do?

Follow the instructions on the letter. You will be receiving this letter if you have debt outstanding with the University. If you are concerned about it or have questions you can contact the Advice Centre for guidance.

Do I call the solicitor or the University to pay my debt?

You can pay either.

What happens if I ignore the letter from the solicitor?

The solicitor will continue to take legal action against you. You may also be charged for the costs associated with legal action even if you pay your debt before you get to court. Legal action could include, but is not limited to, seeking to evict you from your accommodation or a County Court Judgment. However the University would rather work towards a resolution with you. If you are concerned that this might happen, seek advice.  

What does a County Court Judgement (CCJ) mean?

Unless you pay your debt in full within 30 days a CCJ stays on your credit report for six years. It can also have serious implications for your future, for example opening a bank account, getting a credit card or a mortgage.  A CCJ means the court agrees you owe the money and it will detail how, when and how much you should pay. It will also increase the amount you owe as you will be charged for court costs, interest and other associated costs. You should contact the Advice Centre for details about the process.

Who is paying for the solicitor?

The first two initial letters are paid for by the University. After that point the solicitor will be seeking legal action and the costs associated to that will be passed to you.

I can’t afford my accommodation. What should I do?

If you are struggling to pay your University accommodation come and get advice. It is important to look carefully at your options and to do that you could speak to the Advice Centre or the Accommodation office.

I am thinking of withdrawing. What should I do?

Contact the Student Advice Centre. We can help you look at your options and outline what choices you have.

I don’t owe any money to the University I don’t understand why I have received this?

It may be that there has been a mistake or that you have had some costs you weren’t aware of, for example a shortfall in your accommodation costs. Please contact the fees department to find out more about your account.

If you have questions about debts to the University and want individual advice please contact us on 0113 380 1290 or 

This information was last checked on 10/06/14. This information is updated as often as possible. Leeds University Union can not be held responsible if the information here is incorrect.

We make every effort to ensure information on these pages is accurate and up to date, however policies, procedures and regulations are subject to change. We therefore cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience suffered as a result of using our pages. Read the full disclaimer.

Back to top