Students in UCD will no longer have to pay €180 to resit exams starting from this September, UCD Students’ Union has announced.

The abolition of resit fees has been the culmination of a long-term campaign from the union to reduce or eliminate both resit and repeat fees for students, which the union has hailed as an “important cost of living measure” and a step towards “relieving some of the financial barriers to progression and education”.

“Students shouldn’t be penalised twice for failing an exam, students are already subject to an academic penalty and shouldn’t be penalised financially also,” Martha Ní Riada, UCD Students’ Union President said to The College Tribune.

“The reduction and abolition of resit fees has been a consistent focus of the Students’ Union for a number of years and we have built on the work done by previous teams to achieve this.”

What are resit and repeat fees?

Students who fail a module in UCD will typically be offered two methods of progressing on from the failed module. One option is a ‘resit’ the opportunity to sit an exam again, or sometimes resubmit an assignment again, previously at a fee of €180. Re-sitting an exam also carries with it a strong grade cap to a GPA of 2.0.

Meanwhile, students who repeat a failed module will take the module again when it is next offered, with a grade penalty of 0.6 applied to their final grade. There is a fee of €230 to repeat a module.

resit fees abolished, image credit UCDSU on Twitter

UCD previously had the highest resit fees in the country, having been reduced to €180 from €230 per exam resit in 2018. UCD Students’ Union said that their progress in eliminating the fees which UCD students face was the result of “consistent campaigning and meaningful engagement with UCD management.”

“In the current climate, we see the abolition of the resit fee as an important cost of living measure and we’re hoping that affected students will feel its impact. A guiding principle of UCDSU is to make education truly accessible, removing financial barriers to progression is a core aspect of this.”

How did the Union help abolish these fees?

The decision to abolish resit fees by UCD was a result of an internal working group within the university, which student representatives from the Students’ Union sat on. 

The union had been informed that the resit fees would either be eliminated entirely or reduced to a nominal fee at the end of the last academic year. However, following the recommendations of the working group, University management made the decision to abolish the fee structure.

Ní Riada, who sat on the working group last year as UCDSU Education Officer said that “the impact for students will be wholly positive by relieving some of the financial barriers to progression and education.”

“We also hope that the abolition of the resit fee will help with the destigmatization of failing an exam or assessment component, it is a recognition that students deserve a second chance and that no one sets out to fail an exam so should not be penalised twice. If a student has failed an exam they should be able to focus on passing their resit rather than on how they will pay for it.”

“It is a recognition that students deserve a second chance and that no one sets out to fail an exam so should not be penalised twice.”

Martha Ní Riada – UCDSU

UCD still retains a fee for students who are forced to repeat a module, which has stayed at €230 despite reductions and the subsequent elimination of the resit fee. 

Asked about the possibility of the university also removing repeat fees UCD Students’ Union said; “The working group in its deliberations conducted a comparative review of the resit and repeat fees in other higher education institutions and the fee for repeating a module in UCD was comparatively much lower than most other HEIs. 

“UCDSU will always fight for the alleviation of financial barriers to education, however, it will be more difficult to reduce the repeat fee without having a joint approach across other HEIs as UCD currently offers one of the lowest costs for repeat modules.”

University College Dublin has been contacted for comment on the removal of resit fees and any comment received will be added to this article.

Hugh Dooley & Emma Hanrahan – Co-Editor