We are aware that some students may be facing financial difficulties due to the current situation and have put together the following guidance that may be helpful during this difficult time.
Last update: 14 May 2020
Student Finance funding
I receive support from the Student Loans Company (SLC) – will I still receive my final term Student Finance instalment?
If you receive an SLC living costs loan, you can expect the final instalment of the undergraduate loans to be paid as scheduled on 14 April 2020 for undergraduate students, and 27 April 2020 for postgraduate students.
Student Finance (SLC) 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, can I still get the Student Finance Maintenance Loan and retain my Migrant Worker status?
SLC have confirmed that it is likely that students who are already assessed as Migrant Workers and have previously provided evidence, will not be required to send any further evidence or checks of their Migrant Worker status for this academic year. Please let the Student Advice Team know if you do get such a request, so we can advise and support you with this.
Student Migrant Worker applications for 2020/21 are still being reviewed and further guidance may follow. You can check on the GOV.UK website for updates.
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?
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. Read more 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’
SSP start date
You can get SSP for every day you were self-isolating if you started on or after 13 March 2020. If you started self-isolating before 13 March, you can get SSP from:
- the fourth day you were sick – if you had coronavirus symptoms
- 13 March – if you were self-isolating because someone you live with had symptoms
Proof of sickness
If you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For coronavirus cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.
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. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.
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 accommodation fees
What help is there for students who have been living in University Halls of Residence?
If you have moved away:
As the current situation is likely to continue for some weeks, the University has decided that it will not charge the third instalment accommodation fees for students who do not stay in their University accommodation during the remainder of this academic year (4 April – 6 June 2020).
If you are staying in the hall:
Residential fees will still apply during this period. We will continue to ensure that you are supported during your stay for the rest of the academic year, with regular updates, check-ins and staff to offer you support on site, by telephone and by email. If you remain living in the hall and have difficulties in paying your residential fees, we will be able to offer you advice on financial support arrangements that may help you.
Residents have been asked to confirm their intentions by Thursday 9 April 2020. We will remain in touch to ask residents to confirm their intentions and to answer any queries.
If you are a resident in iQ Raffles House, Wembley:
Students who will not be staying for the summer term and pay their rent directly to iQ will not be charged for the remainder of their current tenancy, effective from 18 April 2020 - provided they confirmed this by Thursday 9 April 2020. Details of the approach being taken by iQ can be found on the IQ website.
If you have any queries, please email Student Accommodation at [email protected].
More information on the University's halls can be found on our Accommodation pages.
What about any help for private renters who are struggling to pay rent?
Emergency legislation has been taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. As a result of this, students who are renting in private or social accommodation do not need to be concerned about the threat of eviction during this period. From 26 March 2020 landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (ie serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.
This extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the end point, and the 3-month notice period can be extended if needed.
This also includes people with mortgages, who can also ask for three-month mortgage holiday from the bank and landlords can do the same (you must ask your lender first to approve this).
At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together 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 doing to support customers with financial difficulties?
Many banks will help those struggling to repay personal loans and credit cards, and your bank may be able to offer you a three-month payment holiday on credit and store cards, loans, secured loans and catalogue debt. It is likely these measures will come into effect in April 2020.
You may also find the following information useful: