Over the past few months, the Sabb team and I have been lobbying the University to secure fee and hardship support for affected students. Here are some updates:
To make sure that any available resources go to those students who are most in need, the university has decided not to provide a blanket waiver for COVID-related continuation charges.
- Any student who receives a funding extension via the COVID Scholarship Extension Fund (CSEF)—and who incurs a university or college continuation fee during the period of that extension—will have their continuation fee automatically paid by the fund. Students in this position should not receive any invoices for continuation charges from the university or their college.
- Students who are not eligible for the CSEF (i.e. externally or self-funded students), but who are facing financial difficulties in paying any continuation fees caused by COVID-related extensions, can apply for the COVID Hardship Fund (CHF). The process for this fund is still being finalised, but I'm working with the fees & funding team to make sure that there will be a section where students can indicate if continuation charges are their main reason for applying to the fund. The full guidance on the CHF application process should be released by the end of the month.
- There will also be a four-week grace period for continuation charges in Michaelmas term, so any student who submits their thesis by the end of 4th week (7 Nov) will not incur any continuation fees, regardless of why their submission was delayed.
Council Tax and Rent Increases
When applying for the CHF to cover pandemic-related expenses, students should also mention any other factors affecting their finances, as these will also be taken into account when assessing each student's need for financial support. This could include changes in council tax and accommodation costs—two factors that will be explicitly stated in the CHF guidance.
Students who aren't eligible for the CHF can apply to all of the usual college and university hardship funds to help meet any unexpected shortfalls in their finances, including where financial difficultly has been caused by council taxes, increased rent charges, or any other costs.
Hopefully this provides some clarity for everyone! As always, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other grad-related topic