15th April 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. Support for SU staff
  9. Welfare benefits
  10. 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?

No, students who live at home normally receive a lower maintenance loan but it has now been confirmed that students who move home due to Covid-19 will not have their loans reduced.

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. It’s our understanding that 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. We are currently waiting for guidance from student finance about what will happen to students who find themselves in this situation due to Covid-19 but it is likely that any overpayment will have to be paid back.

I cannot continue with my course remotely or online as it is not possible to deliver the content. I am being told I have to take leave of absence. Will this affect my funding?

It has been confirmed that this will not be classed as a leave of absence for student finance purposes. Funding will continue to be paid both for tuition fees if being charged and maintenance.

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 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. Will my payments be affected?

No, your payments for 2019/2020 will be unaffected. You will continue to receive the funding you have been assessed for and will not be reassessed. Discussions are ongoing about 2020/2021 funding for migrant workers.

Can I apply for my 2020/21 student finance now or have applications been paused?

Yes, you can apply now and you should do so as soon as possible to minimise the risk of your payments being delayed next year.

Can I call Student Finance England at the moment?

Yes, having been temporarily closed due to Covid-19, from Monday 6th April, limited contact centre service will be available. However, lines are expected to be busy. As an alternative to calling, you can contact student finance via social media (https://twitter.com/SF_England). The Advice Centre cannot call student finance on your behalf unless we have consent to share on your account. This can only be set up by calling Student Finance England.

Issues which we know are important to you but which we do not have answers to at present

Student finance is currently working with the government on:

  • Travel Grant - can I claim this if I had to return early due to Covid-19?
  • Resits, repeats and extending my year - how will my student finance be affected?

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 but discussions about this are ongoing.

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 crisis.

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.

Can I apply for my 2020/2021 NHS funding now or have applications been paused?

No. Applications for NHS Bursaries and Social Work Bursaries for 2020/2021 have been suspended at present.

International students

I am self funded and have paid full fees for 2019/2020. 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.

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.

I have lost my job or can’t work due to Covid-19. Can the University help me financially?

Yes. You can make an application for help from the University Financial Support funds. You need to complete the application form online and provide the evidence requested. The evidence requirements have been reduced for those students affected by Covid-19.

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.

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

Please note that help cannot be guaranteed but the University will carefully consider your case.

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 need help to pay for technology to help me to access my degree online once term starts. Can I apply for help from the University?

Yes. Your department should be contacting you to advise what hardware and software will be needed. They will be signposting students in need of financial help towards these additional, unexpected costs to the Financial Support team.

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.

This semester has been disrupted by UCU strikes and by Covid-19. Will there be compensation offered or a reduction in my fees?

The SU is committed to supporting students who want to raise complaints about the recent strikes. All queries should be directed to strike.action@sheffield.ac.uk There are ongoing discussions about the impact of the unprecedented events of this year on the payments which students have made to our University and others around the country and the world.

Support for SU staff

We believe no staff member should be put in financial hardship whilst they’re unable to work. That’s why we’ve launched the Financial Support Scheme.

The Financial Support Scheme is an initiative designed and funded by the Students’ Union to prevent any member of SU staff falling into financial hardship as a result of Covid-19.

It is open to all SU staff members, casual or core, who are on furlough leave and will face financial difficulties due to the decrease in pay to 80%. The scheme will provide those eligible with the funds to top up their pay up to 100%.

The criteria is not based on how much you earn, but on whether the drop in income means your essential outgoings have become unaffordable.

We have kept the application process as simple as possible. To be eligible you need to:

  • Work for the Students’ Union.
  • Provide evidence that you have applied for support elsewhere (eg. University Hardship Fund if you are a student, Universal Credit if you are a non-student).
  • Provide evidence of outgoings.

To find out more about the application process and to apply for the Financial Support Scheme, click here.

Please note - to be eligible for this funding, student staff members must have already applied to the University’s hardship scheme. Find out more via the University of Sheffield website.

We’re committed to supporting staff wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic. If you have any questions, concerns or problems during this time please don’t hesitate to contact the the Financial Support Scheme team on su-financial-support@sheffield.ac.uk.

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.

More changes are likely to be announced as the situation evolves over the coming weeks or months. Citizens Advice website is being updated regularly as announcements are made by the government.

I was entitled to free school meals for my child when schools were open. Is there any help available for me now they are closed?

The government has set up a voucher scheme and schools can issue vouchers worth £15 for each eligible child. Information is being updated on the gov.uk site.

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

DWP have confirmed that they have suspended repayments of benefit overpayments, tax credit debt and social fund loans. This has been done for claimants. If your repayments do not come directly from your benefit payments, please ensure you suspend the repayment method.

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.

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.