Nine Durham University students owe £6,000 in library fees

The figures, obtained by The Northern Echo through a Freedom of Information request, show the nine students racked up £6,110 in fees for lost books and fines for late returns.

The worst offending student faces a huge £890 bill for lost books, with fees only increased last month.

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Durham University said it only charges a maximum of £20 per lost book, meaning the student may have up to 44 titles not returned.

Another student is owed £840, while all nine owe more than £500.

A university spokesperson said: “We only charge fines for late returns of library items where there is an active request for that item from another borrower, to ensure that students who have requested books can access them.”

“We offer free returns via UK post to help students return items. This means they can return items by post free of charge even if they are not on campus.

“Whether for late returns or lost items, the maximum penalty is £20 per book, well below the replacement cost.

“If a student believes they have good reasons for not paying library fees, for example medical reasons or extenuating personal circumstances, they can contact us to discuss this.”

The Echo submitted requests for library fines to all five North East universities ahead of a new wave of first-year students starting their courses this month.

This comes after Labor leader Keir Starmer said in August that his dream of attending university would now be “nipped in the bud” due to costs.

Students will now incur tuition fees of £9,250 per year, as well as accommodation and living costs.

Durham and Newcastle are the only universities that still fine students in their libraries, although the highest fine in Tyneside was just £60.

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Northumbria said it stopped imposing fines in 2020 and waived all historical charges, while Teesside made the same decision last year “as part of [its] Living cost support for students”.

The University of Sunderland will only charge penalties for unreturned laptops from December 2022.

Durham University added: “We have introduced a range of measures to support students with living costs, including increasing the Durham Grant Scheme by 10 per cent last year to support students from low-income backgrounds, more than doubling our student population Hardship Fund and.” Introducing free cereal and hot beverages for students who miss breakfast.” Nine Durham University students owe £6,000 in library fees

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