New funding will go to universities to help students facing financial difficulties arising from the impact of coronavirus.
Thousands of students will benefit from an additional £50 million to support them with financial pressures from the pandemic, the Universities Minister has announced today (2 February).
Today’s announcement is in addition to the £20 million announced in December, bringing the total to £70 million for this financial year.
The new funding means that universities will be able to help students impacted by the pandemic, for example those facing additional costs for alternative accommodation, loss of employment, or extra costs to access their teaching online. Universities will distribute the funding and will be able to prioritise the funding to those most in need of help.
The increased financial support comes as the majority of students have been asked to continue their studies remotely, as part of measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
This announcement follows the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need stay away from their term-time address. The Government has encouraged others to join them and offer students partial refunds.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:
The Government say they also welcome the decision from many universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need stay away from their term-time address, and encourages others to join them and offer students partial refunds. It asks all providers of student accommodation including universities, to make sure their rental policies have students’ best interests at heart and are communicated clearly.
The funding will be distributed by the Office for Students directly to universities, which are best placed to assess student hardship locally. Universities will be able to help students, including international students, impacted by the pandemic, for example those facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location, or an inability to maintain employment, such as a job based close to their term-time accommodation for which they cannot access the furlough scheme, or to support students to access teaching remotely.
The Government say they continue to monitor the situation and the impact of the funding.
Students facing financial hardship are encouraged to contact their university or higher education provider if they find themselves facing financial difficulties related to Covid-19.