Coronavirus has thrown a spanner into the world. There is confusion about healthcare, economics, travel and education.

Frankly it’s all a bit overwhelming and everyone is looking for some clarity. But patterns are emerging and we do keep seeing the same questions popping up on Twitter, Instagram and through the Blackbullion platform.

So we thought we’d put them in the one place – and we’ll keep adding questions (and answers) as they come up! If you have one, send it our way and we’ll add it to this list.

 

 

🤓 What rights do students have if they have vacated their rented accommodation and returned home? How can they end tenancy contracts early?

 

There are many answers, depending on your personal circumstances.

  • University accommodation

If you were staying in halls of residence, or other university accommodation, make sure you contact your university. Some institutions released their students from their contracts already, whilst others are releasing students on request. 

If the University is insisting that you pay, you may need to speak to them in relation to payment arrangements, as they might offer payment holidays, or spread it over a longer period of time to help with the situation.

  • Student accommodation

If you were staying in other student accommodation, for example via Liberty Living or Unite, many of these providers have released students from their contracts., but get in touch to make sure you know how the new terms are, or if there is anything else you need to do.  

  • Private housing

If you were in a share-house, or renting with a private landlord, cutting your tenancy contract short will be a bit trickier. Some landlords are insisting that individuals still pay. Some are releasing students from their contracts entry. But there is no regulatory guidance to follow, This may legally be more difficult to negotiate but there definitely needs to be a conversation with your landlord or agent. It is also important to remember that no evictions can currently take place. 

Universities, NUS and UUK are all trying to help by issuing official letters, statements, and calls for landlord to release students early. 

  • Still living on campus.

There are some students who are still living on campus and Universities are trying to support them as well during this time. If you are still staying in accommodation, your fees will be due as normal.

 

 

🤑 What’s happening with maintenance loans?

 

SLC have advised that 3rd term maintenance loans will drop on schedule. With many students currently not able to work this may mean that loans have to be stretched further during this time. 

It is always worth getting in touch with your University support teams if you are experiencing financial difficulties, since many have specific funds, emergency loans and other support to assist students in financial hardship. Check your university page for more details.

There are loads of temporary jobs available at the moment – see here and here.

 

⏰ How long SFE are currently taking to process applications (for tuition loan & basic maintenance)?

 

On average, SFE are taking 6 weeks to get through a standard funding application. It can be approved faster but in the current climate assume the maximum so you can plan appropriately!

If your application is more complicated, and an assessor needs to review the account, then it could take even more time.

They are prioritising term 3 payments and if you haven’t applied for your loan during 2019/20 – you can still do so. Once the backlog is cleared, SLC will start on the 2020/21 applications. 

For more information go to SLC.

 

👩🏾‍🔬 I’m a placement student and lost my placement, what can I do?

 

This can be a tricky one, as the current scenario is not one that many would have thought would ever be a reality. 

The effect on placement students may vary, depending on your university and/or where your placement was being undertaken. Many of those within the NHS have continued, as have those within key worker roles. 

Others have seen their placements officially ended and so there is no entitlement to furlough. In this case it would be a good idea to get in touch with Student Finance England as there may be adjustments which could be made to your loan – but remember they are not fully operational yet so your questions could take longer than usual to be answered. 

It may also be worth contacting your academic department to see if you can move onto a different route which will include teaching, which then may in turn impact on the funding you can receive. 

University support teams are also worth getting in touch, especially if you need to discuss any financial difficulties you may be facing.

Have any more questions for us? Submit your question here.