Ranked: The biggest individual library fines given to students at Russell Group universities

Cambridge once fined a student £1,000 for an overdue book


Russell Group unis dished out £120,000 in library fines last year to its students. And actually when you compare that figure to the past ten years, that was them showing mercy.

Today, The Tab revealed our country’s oldest and finest establishments have been absolutely raking it in. Since 2012/13, the universities have billed students more than £7 million according to Freedom of Information request responses from 20 of the 24 members.

That’s right. £7 million simply because you, a student who already pays your university £9,250 a year, forgot to hand a book back in on time or failed to return it.

Well, we wanted to find out how on earth the universities have managed to accumulate such a vast sum. So we asked each of them to tell us what the highest individual fine they’ve given to a student was.

Exeter admitted a student seven years ago triggered a £1,850 fine for not handing a book back in on time.

In an act of mercy the uni decided to spare the student.

A student at Cambridge was equally given a frighteningly high fine. They were billed £1,000 for an “overdue item” from the Criminology Library. However the university has clarified the faculty library decided to waive £950 and so the student was just left to pay £50. A lucky escape.

A Cambridge University Libraries spokesperson told The Tab: “Although a £1,000 fine was issued by the Criminology Library in 2017, £950 of that amount was waived a week after. The remaining £50 fine in question was paid the following year.”

Here are all the largest library fines given to Russell Group uni students since 2012/13:

1. University of Exeter – £1,850*

2. University of Cambridge – £1,000*

3. University of Liverpool – £50

4. Durham University – £40

5. University of Warwick – £35

6. University of Edinburgh – £25

7. King’s College London – £20

7. University of Manchester – £20

9. University of Birmingham – £15

10. University of Oxford – £10

10. University of Glasgow – £10

10. University of Nottingham – £10

10. Queen’s University Belfast – £10

14. University of Sheffield – £0 The university became one of the first universities to scrap library fines when they announced the measure in the summer of 2010.

The information was either not held or no response was received from the University of Southampton, Queen Mary University of London, University of Bristol, LSE, University of York, UCL, Cardiff University, Imperial College London or the University of Leeds.

*fines not upheld

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