What is encumbrance? Ask an MGA advocate.

Noman has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected his finances and he consequently finds himself ‘encumbered’ by the University. What does this mean for Noman?

Noman is very stressed and has not eaten properly for a while. His family overseas were hit hard by the pandemic and stopped sending Noman tuition fee money. The student loans at Monash do not cover fees and while Monash University offered Noman an instalment payment plan, he could not meet the repayments.

One of the many problems associated with student poverty is that Monash University is allowed to ‘encumber’ student accounts – which essentially means blocking students from accessing various University services. There are reasons the University may impose an encumbrance on your account which can be found here. The most common reason is if you have unpaid fees or fines. 

Students don’t generally know what encumbrance means until they find themselves in Noman’s situation. Not many students face this problem but Noman was one of the 600 or so students who do.

As a result of encumbrance, Noman cannot sit for his eExams, access his results, Moodle or the library. He cannot re-enrol for the following semester or apply to graduate until the encumbrance is lifted.

So, what did Noman do?

He spoke with an MGA advocate. 

The MGA helped by providing food vouchers for him and referring him to apply for the Monash Connect emergency grant. The advocate referred Noman to support services he was not aware of, and suggested he keep an eye out for Monash employment opportunities, including with the MGA.   

Noman also saw an academic adviser so he could underload on compassionate grounds and lower his fees without contravening his visa conditions. 

For more information, read the relevant Monash policy here.

Do you have more questions?

If you are struggling financially, touch base with us at mga-advocay@monash.edu

If you have a quick query, text a message to our MGA Support Buddy on WhatsApp: 0497 131 698. The Support Buddy is available from Monday to Friday between 9:00am – 5:00pm.

Find out more about the MGA Support Buddy on our website.