Kingston University earns nearly £1million in library fines

The University has racked up nearly £1million in library fines in the last five and a half years, with some students wasting £250.

Ollie Gillman

Thousands of forgetful students have carelessly thrown away £1million in library fines over the last five and a half years, The River can reveal.

The University has raked in £994,343.73 in charges from books and other items, such as DVDs, being returned late – enough to pay £8,500 tuition fees for 117 students a year. Some students alone have racked up fines of over £250.   

Vice Chancellor Julius Weinberg said the fines were fair. “Frankly, if students are losing or not bringing books back then it’s other students that suffer. So the only way of dealing with that and getting money back is by getting students to pay.”

Student Union President Sean Kelly, who has never received a fine, agreed: “On the face of it, it seems a bit excessive, however the library fines are in place for a reason.”

“Cannot be entirely blameless”

A total of 16,570 students were fined last year to the tune of £128,500, making the average fine £6.67 – the equivalent of the cost of three pints at the SU.

One music student, who wished to remain anonymous, received a fine of “about £600” last year for lost books.

She said: “Admittedly, it was stupid of me to have so many books out and run up fines so I cannot be entirely blameless. However, this particular fine was caused mainly by me not being in the area for various reasons and being unable to return the books.”

Jessica Carvalheira, who graduated last year with an MA in modern history, was charged over £200 by the University in one year.

She said: “We were told that we were unable to get our degrees at graduation until our fines were paid, but I have my degree and still owe the University £25, so that worked out well for me.”

No plans to raise or lower library fines

The £1million figure is the total of fines paid to Kingston University libraries from September 2007 to February 2013, according to a freedom of information request by The River.

In the 2010-11 academic year, the University made over a quarter of a million pounds from students’ fines.

This figure almost halved for 2011-12, and by February this year students have paid £71,500, putting them on track to reach last year’s fines total.

 “The University does not plan to lower or raise fines for overdue items in the near future.”

All money made from library fines goes back into the library budget.

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