We are aware that some students may be facing financial difficulties due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, please read the following guidance which you may find helpful during this difficult time.
Last update: 13 November 2020
Student Finance funding
Student Finance England (SFE) are operating as normal and although their processing times may be slightly longer due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you can still contact them through their Helpline on 0300 100 0607 if you have any questions regarding your Student Finance application
Student Finance have written guidance for current students and answered common questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is regularly updated, and you can access this on their website: FAQ's COVID-19 SLC.
I am an EU migrant Worker who has recently stopped working, or my working hours have been significantly reduced, can I still get the Student Finance Maintenance Loan and retain my Migrant Worker status?
Student Finance Migrant Worker applications for 2020/21 are being reviewed and assessed on a case by case basis, so you can still apply for Student Finance funding and the Migrant Worker team will consider your application.
You can read more on the GOV.UK website about Migrant Worker applications and COVID19 outbreak. If you are unsure whether you might qualify for Student Finance as a Migrant Worker please contact the Student Advice team.
Loss of paid work
If you have lost work due to the current situation, you may be able to access finance from the following Government schemes.
UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, can I get help?
The Coronovirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 31 March 2021. If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do at the moment because of coronavirus. This is known as being ‘on furlough’. You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. You can read about this in detail on the GOV.UK website.
Some students are being advised by their employers to apply for Universal Credit. However, most full- time students are not eligible to apply for Universal Credit. You can get more information about students and benefits on our State benefits page.
Can I receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
You can get £95.85 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
You could also get SSP if you cannot work and you’re:
- self-isolating because you, or someone in your household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus
- staying at home because you’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus – this is called ‘shielding’
- Please note, you cannot get SSP if you are self-isolating after entering or returning the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason
If you are self-employed, or your earnings are below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). However, most full time students are not eligible to apply for Universal Credit. More information about students and benefits is on our State benefits page.
You might be able to claim a grant through the ‘Self-Employment Income Support Scheme’
The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. The government has confirmed this scheme has been extended from November 2020 in the form of 2 further grants, each available for 3-month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.
If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.
The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.
HMRC will work out if you’re eligible and how much grant you may get.
You can read more about who can claim.
University and private accommodation fees
What help is there for students who are struggling to pay their rent due to the COVID19 situation?
If you have any queries about your university accommodation fees, please contact Student Accommodation at [email protected].
You may be able to apply for additional financial support from the Westminster 'Stay Sheltered' Scheme. This is for students facing immediate difficulty paying rent and residential costs. Students can apply for a one-off grant to help with these costs. If successful, awards are paid direct to the accommodation provider.
For details on eligibility and how to apply to the scheme, please go to the Coronavirus – financial support from the University page. If you have any queries, you can email [email protected].
What about any help for private renters who are struggling to pay rent and are worried about eviction?
The provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 have been extended, so that from 29 August 2020, landlords must provide 6 months’ notice to their tenants in most circumstances. However, there are some serious cases where it is right that landlords are able to start progressing within a shorter timeframe.
The government has encouraged landlords and tenants will be expected to work together during this difficult period to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances. You can read more about this on the GOV.UK website.
Additional financial advice
Adjusting council tax monthly payments – is there any help available?
Most full-time students do not have to pay council tax, however some may live in a household with non-students or with family who do pay council tax. If anyone is struggling to pay their council tax due to the Coronavirus situation we advise you to contact your local council for support, as they may be able to spread the 10 monthly instalments over 12 months which will lower the monthly instalment payments.
What are banks and utilities companies doing to support customers with financial difficulties?
You can find out more about what support might be available to you on the Money Saving Expert website.
Can the University provide any additional financial support during this time?
You can find out more about how the University is supporting students on the Coronavirus-financial support from the University page. If you have any queries on the financial support schemes offered, you can email the Student Funding team at: [email protected].