Wednesday, 1 December 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Fees
142. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the practice of third-level institutions passing on student debt arising from unpaid fees to debt collectors; if he will introduce regulations to prevent the practice and to prevent the selling on of such debt to third-parties;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59213/21]
I am very conscious of the financial challenges faced by students in the current academic year, and I would hope that higher education institutions would show flexibility to any students who are facing financial hardship.
However, higher education institutions are autonomous and therefore entitled to regulate their own financial affairs, including in relation to how outstanding debts are handled. I would not be in favour of debt collectors chasing students for unpaid debts.
Debt collection in Ireland is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1995, as well as the European Communities (Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010. The Consumer Credit Act is under the purview of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and any amendments or further regulations in relation to this act would be a matter for the Minister and his Department.