A UNIVERSITY is attempting to get former students to repay debts that are more than a decade old.
The Irish Independent has learned that TNC Collections have been contracted by UL to recover outstanding fees from both graduates and students who left without completing their course.
TNC Collections is an English-based company which has offices at Clanwilliam Square, Dublin.
Former students at UL have begun to receive letters from the debt collectors over the Christmas period and in recent weeks.
Some of the students who owe UL outstanding fees finished their courses more than 12 years ago.
In correspondence seen by the Irish Independent, UL informed one former student – who asked to remain anonymous – that a letter was addressed and sent to them five years ago advising there was an overdue fee balance.
The outstanding arrears in this case amount to more than €2,000.
"Should a student fail to clear the outstanding fee, the debt will be transferred to a debt-collection agency to pursue the recovery of unpaid fees," a UL letter said.
Subsequently in December, initial correspondence from TNC collections was sent to a previous address used by the former student. The letter asked for payment immediately which could be made by cheque, postal order, bank draft, laser or credit cards or directly to the Bank of Ireland account of TNC Management Limited.
Less than a fortnight later, TNC Collections, in another letter, threatened legal action over the outstanding debt.
"Please take notice that unless full payment of the above debt is made within seven days legal proceedings may be started against you. If a claim is made against you, a court fee and interest will be added to your debt."
The student who received the letter is currently unemployed.
"There was also five phone calls from a UK number to the address where the letters were sent asking for me and saying it was regarding a serious issue," the former student said.
Last night, a UL spokesperson said they would not be commenting any further on the student fees debt issue.
Previously, UL president Don Barry has said: "We are kind of caught between a rock and a hard place in the sense that we have an obligation to collect this charge and the Government deducts it from our grants."
Separately, a spokesman for TNC Collections in Gloucester, England, said he could not discuss the issue. "We are bound by confidentiality and this is a private matter with our clients."