16th December 2020

Money Advice & Guidance For Covid-19 Issues

Chapters
  1. Undergraduate students from England
  2. Undergraduate students from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
  3. Masters students
  4. Postgraduate research students
  5. NHS funded students
  6. International students
  7. Financial support from the University
  8. Welfare benefits
  9. Other money issues

Undergraduate students from England

The Student Loans Company has a website with FAQs for prospective & current students and for those repaying their loans.

Will I still get my next student finance payment on time?

Yes, it has been confirmed that students will receive their payments as scheduled. This includes maintenance loans and other living costs support. Tuition fee instalments payable to the University will also go ahead as normal.

I’m living at home now, will my maintenance loan be reduced?

If you initially told Student Finance England that you would be living in Sheffield but have now decided to complete the year living at home, you need to notify them. Students living at home receive a lower rate of maintenance loan than those living away at University and you will be reassessed.

My parent/partner used to help me out financially but they’ve lost their jobs due to Covid-19. Can my student finance be reassessed?

Yes, if your household income has reduced by at least 15%, you can apply for a current year income assessment. You can find information about this and a link to the application form on the gov.uk website. If your student finance is normally assessed on your partner’s income, the same process applies. If your maintenance loan increases after you have been reassessed, you might become eligible for a University bursary (or a higher rate of bursary if you are already receiving one). This will happen automatically, you don’t need to contact the University about it.

I had to return to the UK from my year abroad. Will my funding change?

Students on a year abroad normally receive a higher maintenance loan. Students who return from a year abroad will be reassessed so their maintenance loans will be reduced. Normally a reduction like this will mean that the student has been overpaid and student finance will ask for this to be paid back.

Is the travel grant affected by Covid 19?

You can apply for a travel grant if you spent 50% of the term abroad. You can also include the cost of mandatory Covid 19 testing on entry and exit in a travel grant claim.

I plan to take leave of absence. Will there be any changes to the way in which my funding will be affected?

No, students taking leave of absence will be treated in the same way as prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. Our website explains this fully. Covid-19 and the impact of this on you will be considered should repeat funding be needed under the compelling personal reasons regulations.

I receive the Childcare Grant. Can I still claim for this even though University is closed/teaching online and my children are at home with me? I am being charged a fee by my childcare provider.

The Student Loans Company has released a statement which says that current policy allows for Childcare Grant (CCG) to be paid for prescribed childcare costs. This includes retainer fees, charges for absence or holidays and additional costs (resources, dinners, trips). As such if a student is still being charged by the childcare provider, they can continue to receive CCG. The amount payable will be capped at 85% of the cost charged, or the maximum applicable rate of CCG, whichever is lowest.

I am funded as an EU Migrant Worker so receive a fee loan and maintenance loan. I have lost my job/been furloughed due to Covid-19.

If you are furloughed, you will retain your migrant worker status. If you are on a zero hours contract and/or have not been given many hours to work, you will need to evidence this to Student Finance England. If you are a migrant worker and your employment status changes, we would advise you to contact Student Advice Centre to discuss this before contacting Student Finance England.

Can I call Student Finance England at the moment?

Yes, however, their phone lines are busy. As an alternative to calling, you can contact student finance via social media. The Student Advice Centre cannot call student finance on your behalf unless we have consent to share on your account. This can be set up by calling Student Finance England or by completing the consent to share form - please do not include a date of birth as you are completing this for an adviser/Higher Education Institution.

Masters students

I am a PGCE student. The school I work in is closed. Will I still receive my bursary?

Yes, it has been confirmed that training bursaries will continue to be paid in full.

I receive a postgraduate masters loan from Student Finance England. Will I receive my next payment on time?

Yes, it has been confirmed that students will receive their payments as scheduled.

I have a UoS scholarship. Will I still receive my full scholarship?

Yes, the University has confirmed that payments will be made as scheduled.

I receive my funding from another source. Will my funding be affected?

We would advise you to contact your funding body about this.

I need to take leave of absence from my masters course and receive a postgraduate masters loan. Will I be able to apply for any additional funding from Student Finance England when I am able to return to study?

Currently the regulations for postgraduate masters loans do not allow for additional payments to be made for repeat periods of study regardless of the reasons for this. You would only be entitled to an additional postgraduate masters loan if you were to start a new course following your leave of absence.

I took out a private loan to fund my course. I can’t afford to pay back at the moment. What can I do?

We would advise you to contact your lender to discuss your situation. Many banks and other lenders are allowing customers to reduce or pause loan payments during the Covid-19 crisis.

Postgraduate research students

I receive a postgraduate doctoral loan from student finance. Will I receive my next payment on time?

Yes, it has been confirmed that students will receive their payments as scheduled.

I receive a UKRI stipend. Will my funding be affected?

No, it has been confirmed that stipends will continue to be paid during the Covid-19 pandemic.

I took out a private loan to fund my course. I can’t afford to pay back at the moment. What can I do?

We would advise you to contact your lender to discuss your situation. Many banks and other lenders are allowing customers to reduce or pause loan payments during the Covid-19 crisis.

NHS funded students

I am funded by the NHS. Will my funding continue?

Yes, it has been confirmed that all NHS Bursary, Social Work Bursary and Learning Support Fund payments will continue to be paid as normal.

Will applications to the exceptional support funds still be considered?

Yes, NHS have confirmed they are still processing these applications.

Will placement costs claims still be processed?

Yes, NHS have confirmed they are still processing these applications.

International students

I am self funded and have paid full fees for my course. Will there be any refunds offered for the reduction in teaching?

At present, no decisions have been made about tuition fees paid to the University. The SU is actively involved in discussions and campaigns to support students at this time and this includes the payment of fees for a significantly disrupted year.

I had to pay for an unexpected flight home. Can I apply for any financial support towards this?

Yes. You can make an application to the University Financial Support funds. Please note that help is not guaranteed and the University will only be able to make a contribution towards your costs.

Financial support from the University

I am due to get a bursary or scholarship payment from the University. Will this still be paid?

Yes. The University is committed to making these payments to students. There will be no change to payment dates.

Can I get any financial help from the University due to problems caused by Covid 19?

Yes, the University has a number of funds which you can apply for if you need additional financial support as a result of Covid 19. This could be in relation to losing your job or being unable to find part time work or due to costs incurred for travel home or IT equipment.

If you're facing additional costs or a significant reduction in income because of the COVID-19 pandemic you can apply for support from the University from the Student Covid-19 Support Fund. All registered students are eligible to apply.

Your department should be able to advise what hardware and software will be needed for your course. If you don't have access to the IT equipment needed to engage with your course you could be eligible for support from the IT Equipment Support Fund.

In addition to these funds, the University financial support fund is also open to students suffering financial hardship.

Please note that help from these funds cannot be guaranteed but the University will consider your case once they have a complete application and evidence. Any award is given as a grant and will be a contribution to your costs.

Please read the online guidance before applying and if you have further questions about the process, contact financialhelp@sheffield.ac.uk

Applications will be processed in 5-7 working days of all required evidence being received. Please note the Financial Support Team is receiving a very high volume of applications and so may take longer to reply at present.

For support with an application, please contact advice@sheffield.ac.uk.

I had to travel home due to Covid-19. I was not expecting to have to pay these costs at this time. Can I apply for any financial help?

Yes. You can apply to the University Financial Support funds and provide evidence of these additional travel costs. See above for the application process.

I am in financial hardship but this is not directly linked to Covid-19. Can I still apply for help from the University?

Yes. The process and evidence requirements remain the same as prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. You can apply online to the University Financial Support Fund.

Welfare benefits

I’ve lost my job or had my hours reduced due to Covid-19. Can I claim benefits?

Currently there has been no change to the benefit regulations to allow full time students to claim Universal Credit. This means that if you have lost your job due to Covid-19, at present you cannot claim benefits to replace this income. You can apply for financial support from the University - see question above.

I am in receipt of benefits. Will these change at all as a result of Covid-19?

A number of changes have already been announced. These include:

  • The suspension of reviews and reassessments for disability benefits
  • An increase in the standard allowance for Universal Credit and Tax Credits
  • An increase in the Local Housing Allowance for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.

Citizens Advice website is being updated regularly to explain changes to benefits due to Covid-19 as announcements are made by the government.

I am entitled to free school meals for my child. If they have to isolate at home, is there any support available?

Information is being updated on the gov.uk site.

I am currently repaying an overpayment to DWP. What will happen to this?

DWP had previously suspended repayments of benefit overpayments, tax credit debt and social fund loans but have now started to claim these back again. DWP will write to you or put an entry on your Universal Credit journal to notify you of when repayments will restart.

Other money issues

I have debts which I can’t now pay due to Covid-19. What should I do?

National Debtline has a wide range of resources which you can use including a Coronavirus factsheet.

If you have debts to the University (such as tuition fees or accommodation charges), please contact the Student Advice Centre for help and advice.

I’m struggling to pay my utility bills due to Covid-19. What should I do?

Disconnections of customers on standard credit meters have been suspended during the pandemic so you can’t be cut off if you can’t pay.

Suppliers have agreed a range of measures to help customers, for example, removing late payments charges and allowing repayment over a longer period. Arrangements vary between suppliers and will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are unable to pay your bills, contact your supplier directly. Money Saving Expert is providing regular updates and specific guidance to anyone with prepayment meters.

If you are still struggling to pay, you can apply for financial support from the University - see question above.

I don’t have any money to buy food. Can I get help from a foodbank?

The Student Advice Centre can refer students to foodbanks. Please email advice@sheffield.ac.uk if you need help with this.