£50m support package for students impacted by Covid-19
The new funding was announced by universities minister Michelle Donelan, and is in addition to the £20m announced in December.
The government says the new funding means that universities will be able to help students impacted by the pandemic, for example those facing additional costs for alternative accommodation, loss of employment, or extra costs to access their teaching online.
Universities will distribute the funding and will be able to prioritise the funding to those most in need of help.
The increased financial support comes as the majority of students have been asked to continue their studies remotely, as part of measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
This announcement follows the decision from some universities and accommodation providers to offer rent rebates for students who need stay away from their term-time address.
Michelle Donelan, universities minister, said: “This continues to be an incredibly difficult and challenging time for our students, and I am hugely grateful to all the university staff working hard to prioritise their health, wellbeing and learning during this pandemic.
“The additional £50m that we are announcing today will mean we have distributed £70m for hardship in this financial year alone – on top of the £256m of government-funded student premium which universities can use for student support this academic year.
“This additional support will provide real, tangible help for those students struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. We will continue to prioritise a full return to education as soon possible, in line with public health advice. I am also working with universities and professional bodies to ensure students can graduate as planned.”
The funding will be distributed by the Office for Students directly to universities, which are best placed to assess student hardship locally.
Universities will be able to help students, including international students, impacted by the pandemic, for example those facing additional costs arising from having to maintain accommodation in more than one location, or an inability to maintain employment.
Students facing financial hardship are encouraged to contact their university or higher education provider if they find themselves facing financial difficulties related to Covid-19.