FED-UP students have hit out a university who are charging them £10 to graduate online this winter. 

Students at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are calling for the graduation charges to be dropped in time for the virtual ceremonies set to take place in December. 

UWS Students’ Union has called graduation fees “an unfair and unexpected cost for students” in a statement on social media. The charge relates to the administration costs related to graduation.

They have also demanded that all students who have already paid the £10 graduation fee should be refunded. They have called upon the institution to commit to scrapping the charges permanently and issue an apology to all those affected by the charge.
Campaigners at UWS have been fighting an ongoing battle with bosses since May last year. A petition calling for the fees to be scrapped has gathered almost 3000 signatures. 

The National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland have joined the union in calling for the fees to be abolished. The majority of universities in Scotland have abolished the fee to graduate including Strathclyde, Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian. 

Glasgow Times: Glasgow University has abolished its fees Glasgow University has abolished its fees

NUS Scotland president Matt Crilly said: “After lots of hard work to make it though their course, every student should be able to enjoy their graduation without worrying about their ability to pay, especially during the current crisis. 

“UWS should join the rest of Scotland’s progressive institutions and abolish fees.”

The university has since told students that those choosing not to attend the online graduation ceremonies would not be charged and those who had paid so far would be refunded. The charge still remains for those choosing to attend. 

A spokeswoman for UWS said: “Due to the ongoing impact and associated restrictions of coronavirus, our Winter 2020 graduations will be high-quality, virtual interactive ceremonies that will allow our graduating students to celebrate their well-earned academic achievements with their loved ones, friends and the UWS community.

“We have written to all of those students who have chosen an in absentia graduation to advise them that they should not have been charged £10 and that they will be fully refunded. For clarity, the £10 fee is for students participating in our online virtual Winter 2020 graduation ceremonies.”

Neil Bibby, MSP for the West Scotland region called on UWS to reconsider. He said:

“Covid has affected all of us and it has particularly hit students in a number of different ways. Many have been unable to work alongside their studies because of restrictions and therefore have very low incomes. 

"I understand the financial pressures that UWS are under and the Scottish Government need to ensure they are properly funded but this cannot justify graduation fees for young people on low incomes.

"I have been a consistent supporter of calls from students to scrap graduation fees at the university and I am pleased to back these calls again. 

"The charges being imposed on students graduating in an online ceremony are unfair. The NUS, SAUWS and students campaigning on this have my support. I hope that the university listens and that the students are successful in their campaign.”