Read a message from Claire Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students sent on 3 March.
Last week we released information on the rent rebate available if you live in University-owned residences. I said I would send a further update explaining how to access the wider support package available to you during this difficult time.
I am mindful of the impact that the changes we are all making and adapting to is having on our wellbeing, and the importance of taking care of ourselves. If you are experiencing difficulties do make use of the support we provide – available to you wherever you are living and studying.
Our student support package – continued
We’re now able to confirm the additional funding within our support package, including the support made available to us via the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) allocation from the Welsh Government. Key elements of this package are listed below (1-3).
Thank you for your patience while we coordinated the distribution of this funding between Wales’ eight Higher Education institutions in a way that is fair and consistent. It has required considerable planning and coordination in a short space of time, hence the time between the original announcement and today’s update.
Please read the below information carefully – different parts of the package have different criteria and deadlines for you to apply by.
1. COVID-19 Student Support Fund
We can now confirm that, in common with other Universities in Wales, all our students struggling to meet essential expenses as a direct result of the pandemic can access £350 from the new COVID-19 Student Support Fund. This funding is available to students who are:
- undergraduate or postgraduate
- full-time home (UK) or international
- part-time students studying 60 credits or more during the 2020-21 academic year.
The scheme will initially be open to applications (via SIMS) from week commencing Monday 15 March.
The simple application process will require you to:
- List the expense(s) you are struggling to meet (e.g. rent, utility bills)
- Give the main reason(s) for struggling to meet them (e.g. lost income, additional costs)
- Confirm you have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Provide your bank details.
If you have any queries about the COVID-19 Student Support Fund please email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Further support for students identified as more adversely impacted by the pandemic
As well as the COVID-19 Student Support Fund above, we will be providing additional support to groups of students the Welsh Government has highlighted as being more adversely impacted by the pandemic. These groups are:
- If the Student Loan Company have assessed your household income as £25,000 or lower you will receive a top-up bursary from the University of £350. This will be paid directly into the bank account that your student funding is paid into; you don’t need to do anything.
- If you are funded by the NHS and have been assessed by the NHS Bursary Awards as having a household income of £25,000 or lower you will also receive a top up bursary of £350. We are currently working out how we will process this and will be in contact with you directly.
Undergraduates and postgraduates
- If you have already told us you are a care leaver/estranged from your family or you are a carer you will receive a top-up bursary of £350 if you have not already received one on the basis of your household income assessment as stated above. If you think that you may belong to one of these groups, after having read the definitions please contact email@example.com to discuss further.
The distribution of this money will take some time to administer, and we appreciate your patience in this matter. We aim to pay those that are eligible for these top ups by the end of June.
If you are registered with the university as a disabled student we are putting in place specific learning support awards to help fund changes you have needed to make to accommodate your learning. We will be in touch directly with you about this scheme if it applies to you.
We continue to offer the Digital Capability Scheme we announced in November for any student who does not have the equipment they need for their programme of study. We are going to make some changes to this scheme to improve and make it more accessible.
We also continue to offer our Financial Assistance Programme which provides means tested help for any student in financial hardship. We have put additional money into this programme this year.
3. Rent rebate for students who live in our residences – update
The SIMS task for another part of our financial student support package, rent rebates for students in University accommodation, went live yesterday (Tuesday 2 March). Eligible students have received an update on the support available and related process.
We are here for you and are doing everything possible to help you, ensuring you have access to the appropriate support. This includes:
- Our Student Connect service, which remains your first point of contact for support. We also have self-help resources for managing anxiety and other challenges, and TalkCampus, a social networking site offering you a safe place to talk anonymously about anything that’s concerning you.
- You can contact your School Office or Academic Personal Tutor
- We continue to ask that if you are in Cardiff, or returning to us shortly, you use our asymptomatic screening service.
I hope this is all of help and my thanks again for your patience whilst we co-ordinate the funding available to you.
I will be back in touch when we receive further updates from Welsh Government on returning to teaching after Easter. If you have already returned to Cardiff, please follow the safety measures we have in place.
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education and Students