London Unis Make Millions From Late Library Books

By Gary Cutlack on at

London's selection of universities are sitting on a secret money making scheme, with data showing that they've taken in more than £3m from their students via this clever little hack. The scam? Charging late fees for students returning books. That's somehow netted the establishments millions.

Or £3,030,128 and 11p between 2014 and 2017 according to the BBC, which filed Freedom of Information requests with 21 of  London's largest universities. The biggest earner from the late books racket is King's College London, which pulled in £388k from poshos returning copies of Tess of the D'Urbervilles and François Bourguignon's The Globalization of Inequality late, although King's said the money made is reinvested and the penalty system is designed to manage demand, while also sort of inadvertently teaching the kids about supply/demand and organisations wanting to take all your money all of the time. We said that last part, not King's.

The best place to study if you don't want to have to pay for late book returns is the University of Westminster, which doesn't appear to be particularly excited about making money -- it simply bans students from taking any more out until they bother bringing back the old ones. [BBC]