22.4 C
Doha
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Students locked out of Qatar Foundation dorms for non-payment

-

HBKU residence halls
HBKU residence halls

Several university students inside Education City in Qatar have reported being temporarily locked out of their dorm rooms after failing to pay their housing fees for the semester.

The students, who attend various schools that partner with Hamad Bin Khalifa University, had been warned weeks in advance about the lockout.

But some said they had been unable to pay the fees, which range from QR8,000 to QR10,000 per semester, because they couldn’t afford it.

Georgetown University in Qatar
Georgetown University in Qatar

While HBKU, which falls under Qatar Foundation (QF), has always required that housing costs be paid at the beginning of the semester, enforcement of this policy was previously less strict.

According to one Georgetown University in Qatar student who was locked out yesterday:

“There has always been a soft deadline there but not really enforced. Since most of the students who live in the residence halls are international students, we always cleared our fees by the end of the semester or before we left for vacation…

Some of these students are supporting themselves and probably will not be able to come up with the fees (overnight).”

A Northwestern University in Qatar student said she also experienced a similar situation yesterday when, despite being on a pre-determined payment plan, she found herself unable to access her room:

“If you have a monthly plan, you’re meant to have a balance…as you’re paying the fees over the course of the semester, but we were all locked out. It seems like it was done (indiscriminately),” she said.

Payment plans

In a statement to Doha News, an HBKU spokesperson confirmed the temporary lockout, adding:

“This semester, a number of students did not comply with the deadline for payment of housing fees. On March 4th, after a series of payment due reminders were sent to each individual, a temporary room restriction was put in place to prompt students to speak with HBKU Housing and Residential Life representatives to arrange for payment of these outstanding fees.

It is important that students take responsibility for fulfilling their financial obligations and for meeting the specified deadlines. HBKU Housing and Residential Life is committed to working with students to settle any outstanding issues to resolve this situation quickly.”

Questions about how many students were affected by the lockout and whether it would happen again were not answered.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Many students are currently on spring break, and won’t return to campus until next week.

In January, students were sent an email by HBKU Housing reminding them of overdue payments. They were told that failure to clear their accounts by Feb. 19 would result in the deactivation of their room cards.

The deadline was then moved to yesterday, after sending two further notices to students who still had outstanding payments.

“For students who are staying in Qatar during spring break, all outstanding payments must be completed by March 4, 2015…for students who want to travel outside Qatar and require an exit permit, they must go to QF Finance to pay their outstanding balance and provide receipt to HBKU Housing before March 4, 2015,” read the email.

Yesterday, when the deadline passed, a final reminder was set to students informing them that their keys had been deactivated.

But students were allowed access to their rooms after they visited QF’s finance department after they collected their overdue invoices and made arrangements to pay their dues shortly.

Financial pressure

HBKU’s move to ensure on-time housing payments comes during a period of belt-tightening for EC universities, most of whom have had their budgets slashed by QF.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Students have reported feeling the pinch elsewhere over the past several months, especially in the area of paid part-time work.

Funding for most jobs filled by students, including ones at the student center, inside residence halls and within EC’s various universities, is provided by the HBKU Career Services Center, according to NU-Q student publication The Daily Q.

The center, which has in the past provided work opportunities for students as receptionists, teaching assistants, dorm fellows, and research assistants, saw its budget cut by some 50 percent last October, resulting in a hiring freeze and reduced working hours and salaries for students who already had jobs.

“HBKU, a division under QF located within the EC campus, was affected by what appears to be a larger effort by QF to reexamine its own budget,” Adam Al-Saadi, director of the HBKU career development center, said at the time.

A few months later, universities sent out emails notifying students that employment dates had changed. One stated:

“We have been informed that due to QF budget constraints, the fall semester employment end date has been changed to Nov. 30… Students will be removed from their positions and will not be compensated for additional work after this date.

Recently, citing budget cuts, HBKU notified universities that it would no longer support student jobs at the various branch campuses.

The new policy comes into effect May 1, and has already prompted some schools, including NU-Q and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, to rework their internal budgets to continue to support students. In an email to students last month, NU-Q said:

“While we are also feeling pressure from HBKU on our budget, we plan to continue employing students using our internal budget to minimize the impact on students whose work provides valuable support to our operations. We hope to keep this at the same level as this academic year and without some of the restrictions recently imposed by HBKU.”

Thoughts?

44 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
44 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Student
Student
5 years ago

Non-news. Deadline passed, action taken.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago
Reply to  Student

Yep, as far as I know this is what happens in most countries.

soccer
soccer
5 years ago
Reply to  Student

dohanews tries to get a rise out of its readers, but fails this time. Yawn.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  soccer

Deleted for being a troll.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

The Spring semester commenced on January 6, which is over 8 weeks ago.

Who are these people who think they can just pay up whenever they get around to it? I would have thought you’d need to be reasonably intelligent to get into a college like Georgetown – intelligent enough to understand the difference between on time payment and overdue bills.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago

welcome to the real world

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Students again out forward the case they are a parasite on society and expect something for nothing. I wish we could get a list of these financially irresponsibly students so when they graduates we don’t offer them jobs.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It’s not that simple. Budget deficit started to harm everyone. Many students who relied on student-jobs which was cancelled due to budget cut. This has been coming for a while.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

The stories of budget cuts date back over 4 months. These are supposedly intelligent, resourceful students who have gained admission into some of the world’s best universities. If they were unable to get their financial affairs in order it makes you wonder… Learning to cope under pressure is part of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. At some point you have to learn that when you are presented with a bill, and a reminder, and another reminder – then you go and solve the problem. Not ignore it and then put on a surprised face when this happens.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Agreed. Unfortunately 4 months maybe are not enough in Doha scenario so that they can come up with an alternate funding on their own. But there is always the way downhill of taking student loans.

KK
KK
5 years ago

Does this exclusion apply to all or to certain races/countries?

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

Stfu

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Deleting for personal attack.

UR
UR
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

I would hope so – as it would by the home campus — isn’t it?

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

Welcome to the real world kids.. Where
No really gives a **** about ur sad story and no will give you a free lunch… This will probably the best piece of education you’ll get from your over priced watered down version of your brand name college

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Jealous that you didn’t get to go to a good school?

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Lmao @ qf being something to be jealous of

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Shall put on our thinking caps for two seconds and ponder “why have budgets at Education City been slashed so deep and so quickly?”

Because all budgets are being slashed as a matter of general policy?
Because the outcomes achieved at Eduvation City meet or exceed expectations so finding can be wound back?
Because there’s only so long you can throw money at a scenario which year after year shows no improvement?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Are you trying to say the schools at QF deliver a ‘good’ education? The reality is far from the aspirations and the services provided are not at standard.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

If by schools you mean universities only, then surely yes. QF host the world best universities in their areas of studies. Each university hand-out degrees issued by the main campus and their respective state’s government. To ensure the universities up to their home campus bar, almost all universities, if not all, makes it more difficult (studying) here as confirmed by visiting students.

The services (library/transportations…etc.) doesn’t affect the quality of the education, the library (although each has it own small ones) it almost done and rail is on the way. This will make moving around the campus easier but in no way benefit the academic standards. Also, the facilities these universities enjoy in most cases are way better than in their home campus because of the bigger budget which allow for new shiny high tech equipment and new buildings.

I’m sure you graduated from a joke university though :).

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Why do you believe that the standards meet those of the home campus?

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Do you have anything that suggests otherwise?

I know people who studied in Cornell, Carnegie, TAMUQ (my school).

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

A better question would be do you have anything to suggest equivalency? Very good education my Qatar standards, but certainly not equivalent seems to be the opinion among the education-related chattering classes.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

What-ever makes you sleep at night.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

A statement that makes absolutely no sense in context.

ahmed
ahmed
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

anonymouse is just jealous and flexing his muscles on the internet, ignore him and let him get an ego boost somewhere else

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  ahmed

I’m sorry, but why would I be jealous of an undergrad student? Someone who isn’t even yet in the workforce? He or she is no threat to me, nor will we ever in any way compete.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Deleting this thread for going off topic and devolving into personal attacks.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Yep, some nice shiny buildings, I fully agree; and too many second-tier instructors. This is what I, if I were a student, would be very concerned about.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Stop embarrassing yourself, have some dignity left.

BTW, most (almost all) of my instructors were originally hired and taught in the US before deciding to move here temporarily.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

That’s nice. How is it related to the conversation?

Asinine Thinker
Asinine Thinker
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Disclaimer: I was a student at QF.

Boy o boy, you don’t have any clue what you are talking about! Get you head out of your a** and see the real world. I am currently a post-grad at an Ivy-league school here in the US (See my display picture for a hint), and I am glad that I moved after 2 years of miserable existence in EC. Nah, the education is not up to the par, no its not even close. College is all about experiences and not about how much bookish knowledge you can cram in your head right before the exams. Even then, QF falls short, you pointed it out yourself, (no established library on campus). Infrastructure means nada to a real college experience, Newton f*cking discovered Gravity while sitting under an apple tree (I know this anecdote is somewhat controversial, but the thought holds nonetheless), not while sitting his a** on some fancy chairs inside some shiny buildings in the middle of a dump desert.

I can understand why you are this stupid. You study at QF, no wonder you are an entitled moron with a superiority complex. And you have Moghbelli as your calc instructor. You still think you have the best instructors in the world? Morons breeding more morons, eh, I am okay with this. I need people like you to cheer me up 😀 Genuine stupidity is a rare thing to find, and I am glad to have found you here.

But I am very sorry to inform you that, “you sir, are going to graduate from a joke university.”

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

The more I read about these “kids” the more my eyes are opening to the sort of students that EC is hosting.

http://thedailyq.org/2014/12/03/qf-ride-system-faces-misuse-and-registration-issues/

Kingpin
Kingpin
5 years ago

Wow, University students don’t pay bills on time and claim poverty. Bet that story has never happened before.

BillyBob
BillyBob
5 years ago

People shouldn’t be too quick to judge. You never truly know why someone can’t pay on time. Anyways, it was a fair play by QF. Deadlines are to be respected.

minion
minion
5 years ago

dorms should come with your university place and only have a symbolic fee affordable to all the students.

Caring dude
Caring dude
5 years ago

This issue is global not restricted to Qatar alone. Although Qatar has the capability to wave off their dues… Atleast help for real hardworking students must be offered.

sheeshkabab
sheeshkabab
5 years ago

I have an idea.. Cut overpaid faculty salaries by 5%.. (QR95k from QR100k is still not too shabby).. and with the surplus you can offer every student her job back.. heck you might curb some of that obscene inflation while they’re at it..

Oh no wait .. Thats a bad idea.. best to cut expenses by slashing measly student part time jobs.. Force the kids to drop out because they can’t afford it.. (the more drama and buzz you generate the bigger and flatter face you save) .. Keep ridiculous salaries sacred and inflated org charts untouched…there..
problem solved..

Aisha
Aisha
5 years ago

The education is too much expensive here in Qatar .. how about some students who are financing their selves (trying their best to pay tution fees,then get locked?)
I want to join a university here but then there is no one to finance my education it’s too much high that i can’t finance it myself . HBKU student loan takes 6 yrs to repay .
Aren’t we students the future of Qatar ?
Why hike up the fees

Susan
Susan
5 years ago
Reply to  Aisha

If the education here is too expensive for you, then search for it elsewhere. I don’t know where you come from, but it took me over 15 years to pay off all my student loans (and I had to consider several cheaper schools because I couldn’t afford some others), so 6 years is a walk in the park IMHO!

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Susan

21 years to pay of my school loans. Unfortunately Aisha, that is the way the world works.

Disappointed
Disappointed
5 years ago

How shameful.!!!.. And what after the lock out by the big bad wolf -??? send the kids back home – I agree with a previous comment which suggest reducing the inflated salaries if the teachers – who laugh at the silliness of what’s going on or better yet cut the price of the rebuilt Book Shaped Library – invest in people not edifices and cement – who is that going to impress ? Or the fancy expensive purpose built dorms – nice idea but unsustainable. At the end of the day the foreigners are laughing all the way to the bank – it’s true, Ask them ?

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

If you are going to try and duplicate multiple systems from multiple home campuses you are always going to have significant (and duplicated) costs. If that is the standard you want (even if only aspirationally) then that is what you have to pay. The reality is as the subsidies fade away some students will not be able to afford it. Even before the cost cutting there were students who missed meals to pay fees. These will be the first ones gone in the new order. It will be interesting to see what remains.

Gracey Brown
Gracey Brown
5 years ago

A lot of the comments here are missing the point at hand. The students there are all high performers; it was not easy for the international students to get in; nor the locals I’m sure. There is a cross-section among them that do not come from privileged backgrounds. They work hard in school, they saved from jobs they worked before; and are working to earn while attending their classes. They and their families struggle to get through an education-to-career model not set up by themselves.

Entitlement complexes are overly idealistic and so are capitalist-conservative attitudes, overly idealistic. We don’t get very far with generalised unrigorous pronouncements. No school will prosper without a competitive student-body. No responsible cohort will enter the market-place of innovation and progress without emerging from a diverse environment. There are regions in the “developed north” that have learned this.

Lets all take a deep breath and see what we can do to resolve this — particularly for students who will work hard academically as well as vocationally and are in communication with decision makers to find ways to resolve the obstacles that challenge them and are often mighty overwhelming for an 18-19 year old.

When I was 24 I thought I knew everything and said the same about my 19 year old self. I got through the world with no family. But the fact was, there were people who looked out for me, and had my back on some blind spots. No one is really alone; and Horatio Alger was not a real person; but was a myth fabricated by trust-fund folks. Look it up. And lets follow through on the mission.

If you find yourselves in “the real world kids”, you’ve got to scrap it up and clobber your way out; take risks; go for it; and don’t look back but look up and out. We’re commemorating Selma here. When you come from a family that wakes up in the morning to find your uncle hanging from a tree in the yard so many odds would seem stacked against you. You can cower in Uncle Tom’s Cabin or instead, not give up your seat on the bus; and push for a seat at decision making tables. Nary a one of those students was entitled to an education at Ole Miss explicitly. But we sure do respect their resolve to take a shot at it.

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Vaccine Passport?: Where you can travel if you’ve been vaccinated

0
Have you been vaccinated against COVID-19? Here are some destinations that don't require you to quarantine! Qatar's health authorities on Thursday confirmed residents that have...

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.