Students at Glasgow Caledonian University could soon be the first in the city to face a fee for re-sitting their exams.
A meeting of the institution's executive board scheduled for today is set to consider whether a £40 fee per examination resit at undergraduate level be imposed.
The measure, which would apply to each exam attempted for the third time or more from September, could see a reported rise from £30 to £300 for retaking a 60-credit module, albeit university Principal, Pamela Gillies, has claimed this figure is incorrect.
A new £40 resit charge would place Glasgow Caledonian second highest in Scotland in terms of fees charged, exceeded only by Edinburgh, whose per exam fee is to increase to £80 next academic session.
Glasgow, Strathclyde and West of Scotland universities currently charge no fee and representatives insist there are no plans at present to introduce one next year.
A campaign against the proposed charges was launched by GCU’s Students’ Association earlier this month. The Stop the Resit Ripoff campaign, which saw a over a hundred students pledge their support in only its first 24 hours, has claimed students likely to find themselves liable for the fees are those least able to pay them who may then feel pressured to drop out of their studies.
Fourth year Mechanical Engineering student Omar Aldulemy said: “For international student friends of mine it is very bad because of how much they already have to pay. I do not see why we should pay extra fees.”
Kayleigh Adams, a part-time Electrical Power Engineering student, added: “Imagine if that happened in your first year. People that fail will just decide to stop.”
Alumni Gemma Ross, who graduated from Caledonian’s Entertainment and Events Management course in 2009, said she could see both sides though. “You could say it’ll weed out those who aren’t serious about university, but at the same time most students struggle to pay their way as it is,” she added.
Ross said she would support the new policy if it were to free up resources for extra revision classes and drop-in sessions.
GCU Student Officers Matte Andrews and Simon Ward held an open meeting with Professor Gillies a fortnight ago to discuss the proposal. She said that by charging students for resits the university hopes to reduce the number of people waiting until their fourth and final attempt to complete – a trend she said is not healthy.
“It does not give our staff the chance to work out who needs the most support,” she said. “And we are well known for our support services.
“What we do not want is for our students just to abuse the resit system.”
Asked why student representatives had not been made aware of the changes, she maintained that the decision was financial, not academic, and that the proper procedures had been adhered to.
Matte Andrews, Students’ Association president, said: “GCU is supposed to be a wide access university which encourages students from the most underprivileged backgrounds to come here.
“This is a complete contradiction of that mission, and we welcome a review of this decision.”
While he was pleased to hear Professor Gillies commit to reassess the situation, he admitted he was not entirely satisfied with the meeting’s outcome.
National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland president Robin Parker, who was also in attendance, said: “Students should not have to pay to resit. Something you should quite rightly take for granted is your right to resit your exams.”
The proposal is expected to be considered at a meeting of Glasgow Caledonian’s executive board today.
A spokeswoman for GCU said: “As discussions are ongoing and no conclusions have yet been reached, I can provide no further detailed information at this stage.”