Almost £100,000 of fines issued at Uni of Bath last year

In the previous academic year, almost £100,000 was taken by the University of Bath in library and parking fines, bathimpact can reveal.

bath library biblographic data service
The University of Bath library at night

In the previous academic year (2013-2014), the University of Bath brought in £38,115 in library fines on overdue and unreturned books. The total number represents over 4 years of university fees, but in relation to the number of students enrolled at University and academic staff in 2013/2014, it comes back to roughly £2.23 per head.

Meanwhile parking fines made £30,000 in revenue for the University, however this is only 50% of the total money taken through parking fines with the rest directly contracted by the parking enforcement company recruited by the University taking the figure up to £60,000.

In total 2334 parking tickets were issued last year, with the vast majority paying £30 for each ticket however those who delay paying back the fines faced charges of up to £60.

The news comes after bathimpact placed a Freedom of Information request into the amount of revenue made from both sources of income.

Paul Goodstadt, the University of Bath Students’ Union Education Officer noted that, ““Whilst the figures might seem high, we must also remember we are a student body of over 16,000 students, many of whom take advantage of the library.”

“The fine system in place represents a fair balance between ensuring students can access books whilst accounting for those who are looking to borrow at the same time,” he went on to say.

This fine limit refers to overdue loans per item, meaning that students can actually accumulate a debt to the library well over £50, based on the number of books they have borrowed and not returned on time.

On the library fines, a University spokesperson said: “The reason for library fines is simply to encourage people to return their books on time, to ensure they’re available for others to use. We try to do what we can to help people avoid fines, like providing the automated email service to remind people when their books are due back and enabling books to be renewed online.

“We have further information on our Library web pages, which people might find helpful, including guidance on checking their library account online and setting reminders. With these measures, and the increasing numbers of electronic materials we have available, we’ve actually seen a fall in the amount of money being paid in Library fines over recent years.”

The money made from library fines is considered as part of the Library’s annual budget. When allocating its budget to various departments, the University speculates on how much income will be generated directly from students.

According to the University Secretary, fines-generated income is part of the library’s overall operating budget, allowing the institution to function. The money acquired from fines is thus redistributed in all aspects of the Library’s work including resources and equipment.

The revenue from parking fines meawhile is used to maintain transport facilities across campus, including two full-time parking wardens, Pay and Display machines, CCTV cameras and improvements to parking facilities.

The information comes a month after a request from under the Freedom of Information Act was sent to the University of East Anglia regarding its library’s income by the Norwich Tab, which revealed that over £100,000 was generated from library fines.

In April of this year, the University of Bath came joint first in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2015 for ‘good library and library opening hours’, with the library open 24 hours for most of the year.

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