Students on a Student visa (formerly Tier 4) with tuition fee debts

This policy applies to University of Plymouth students and students progressing from the University of Plymouth International College (UPIC).

It outlines the steps that will be taken prior to, and after, sanctions for non-payment of fees have been applied to a student holding a Student (formerly Tier 4) visa.

As the sanctions prevent the student from accessing their University email account, the student portal, the DLE, and from submitting any coursework or attending examinations, this affects their ability to engage with their studies and the University. 

As Student visa holders must engage with their studies at all times, this situation requires action to be taken on the part of the University as student visa sponsors.


  • Details of all international student tuition and/or bench fee arrears are sent by the Student Accounts Team to the UKVI Compliance team and Faculty Registrars. Compliance team will identify any students with a Student visa on the list.

  • Student Accounts Team will follow the same process to email students with a Student visa along with all other students, to advise them of the date that sanctions will be applied.

  • Once sanctions have been applied the compliance team will contact the student to advise them that reporting to UKVI will be carried out within required deadlines. The reporting means that the University will stop sponsoring the student under the Student Visa, they will be withdrawn from their programme and required to leave the UK.

  • The compliance team will invite the students affected to attend drop in sessions, to discuss how the sanctions or subsequent reporting to UKVI will affect their Student visa and studies at Plymouth. If they prefer, students can discuss their situation with an advisor in ISA. 

  • The email correspondence from compliance will also direct students to get in touch with the Student Accounts Team as soon as possible. Tuition fees will determine when the student will be in a position to fully pay their arrears, together with any later instalments, and may come to an agreement with the student which results in the removal of sanctions. The implications of any breach of the extended payment terms will be made clear to the student.

  • If the sanctions are lifted due to payments being made or terms being agreed upon, the Student Accounts Team will inform compliance. 

  • The sanctions will remain in place under the following circumstances:

    - If the student’s agreed proposals for payment are not subsequently adhered to
    - If the proposals are not considered acceptable and no proposal is agreed upon
    - If the student makes no attempt to contact tuition fees or to clear their debt.

  • When the stated reporting deadline is reached compliance will carry out the reporting to UKVI and inform the student as per usual processes.

  • The International Student Advice team will supply the student with immigration advice at this point.

  • Students retain the right to withdraw or interrupt their studies at any point and their fees will be then applied in line with the University’s Withdrawal & Interruption Fee Policy. If they do not then the full fees for that academic year will apply. 

  • Withdrawal or Interruption from studies, whether the student’s decision, or a University decision due to tuition fee debts or other compliance related reasons, will mean that the University stops sponsoring the student under the Student visa and they will be required to leave the UK. However, it should be noted that the fees applied as per the Withdrawal & Interruption Fee Policy do not apply if a student is withdrawn by the University due to a debt. In these circumstances, full fees will be applied. 

  • Students who are withdrawn due to (for example) non-attendance will have their tuition fee calculated in line with the University’s Withdrawal & Interruption Fee Policy using their last date of attendance.

  • Students should refer to the student debt policy which gives information on the deadlines for payment and other matters associated with fees. 

  • Students should also refer to the leaflet for students with a Student visa “Important Information about your Tuition Fees”, copies of which are held in International Student Advice (Ground Floor, Roland Levinsky Building).

  • If a student has been informed by the UKVI Compliance Team that the University has stopped sponsoring them under the Student visa and if the student is still in Plymouth, they must not attend any classes, lectures, seminars, meetings or anything associated with their course. If it is found that the student has attended during this period, the University will not sponsor them further under the Student visain the future. 

  • When the University has stopped sponsoring a student under the Student visa they must leave the UK promptly as per the advice given at that point. Failure to do this may affect any decision to sponsor them further in the future, even if tuition fee debts are cleared. 

  • Students should be aware that tuition fees debts from previous academic years may affect the University’s decision to issue any further CAS in the future.

  • Failure of any part of the course or other problems arising from sanctions being applied, or when the University has reported the student to UKVI and they are not permitted to attend, cannot be used in any Extenuating Circumstances claim. 

Policy last updated 9 April 2018.