UL President does not know how much former students owe

Barry Duggan

THE President of a university - which is using a debt collection company to recoup outstanding fees from former students - has admitted he does not know how much the college is owed.

The Irish Independent today revealed that the University of Limerick (UL) have contracted a debt collection agency to get former students to repay their outstanding fees.

The majority of those who have received correspondence from the debt collectors did not complete their courses in UL and left without a degree.

However some graduates have left UL with outstanding debts.

Don Barry, President of UL, said he did not know how much is owed by the former students.

"I don't know the precise amount.

"I saw that the university wouldn't release it so I am going to have to find out myself," Mr Barry said today.

The annual student contribution fee is currently set at €2,250 and will rise to €3,000 by 2015.

He admitted that the collection of fees is "a last resort" for UL.

"We try our level best to facilitate students for as long as possible.

"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.

"It is only fair that we treat all our students the same," Mr Barry said.