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  • Accommodation Costs for September 2020

    Working on it

    UCL Accommodation are currently following Public Health England guidance on issuing rooms for September 2020 by only issuing en-suite rooms to ensure that students can safely self-isolate if required to. UCL Accommodation have informed new students that even if it's more expensive than the room they requested, they will be issued an en-suite room and be expected to pay the additional cost. 

    We're currently talking to the Provost and UCL Accommodation about supporting students who will be impacted financially by this decision.

  • Tuition Fee Refunds

    Working on it

    Many of you have contacted us about tuition fee refunds. We are developing a policy position on this that will be debated at an upcoming Zone meeting. However, in the meantime we fully support NUS' Student Safety Net campaign which calls on the Government to issue reimbursements of fees or a debt write off, amongst other aims.

    UCL have said that although they can't refund tuition fees, but they will work with us on mitigation for lost academic experiences, including additional educational support for students when they graduate. We are working to make this as robust as possible. 

    UCL's Current Position

    The UK Government Department for Education has made clear that you should not expect any refund if you are receiving adequate online learning and support. However, if you don’t feel you are receiving adequate online learning and support, you have recourse through UCL’s Student Complaints process. Read the full letter to students from Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs) here.

     

  • Tier 4 Students Returning Home

    Completed

    Update 2 April: UCL have created a specific ‘immigration advice and COVID-19’ webpage which is being regularly reviewed and updated as information comes in.

    In this update UCL received the welcome news that sponsors will not be required to withdraw sponsorship of a Tier 4 student should they be absent due to COVID-19 for more than 60 days.  This includes where they are absent due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions.


    Tier 4 students are permitted to return home to study via distance learning should they wish to do under a new Tier 4 concession.  We ask that students notify us of their intention to travel home and complete the ‘Coronavirus Return Home’ notification form in the "Visas and Immigration" section of askUCL so that we are able to support them.

    It wasn’t clear at first how international students on a Tier 4 visa would be able to return home for more than 60 days and then be able to return. UCL confirmed that should you wish to return home, you must inform UCL of your intention to leave the UK by completing the Coronavirus Return Home notification for in the ‘Visas and Immigration’ category of askUCL.

    The UKVI website says sponsors do not need to report student absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.  UCL has sought additional reassurances from UKVI for those who choose to self-isolate or return home and they have confirmed that UCL will not be required to take immediate action against visas. However, UKVI have not provided any guarantee that UCL will not be required to withdraw your visa in the future. If UCL are required to do this, they will contact you as soon as possible.

  • Accommodation Costs

    Completed

    Update 2 April: Some other private providers have taken the same decision not to charge students who vacate their accommodation before Term 3. Please see the updates listed below:

    University of London Halls of Residence / UNITE / Liberty Living / iQ / Scape


    Update 31 March: We have been working with UCL to agree that students who have chosen to remain in shared-facility halls are safely relocated to halls with en-suite facilities, enabling them to self-isolate. This move improves the safety of students, resident advisors, and cleaning staff.

    Update 27 March: Students in UNITE managed halls of residence will not be charged for term three if they choose to leave their contracts early.

    Update 20 March: UCL have taken the decision not to charge accommodation fees for students who will not be living in UCL halls in Term 3. This applies to those residents who have already checked out from 13 March or are planning on checking out by 25 April. Read more.


    Originally, UCL’s position was that it will not give refunds to students who want to leave their UCL Accommodation contract early and to return home. We absolutely disagreed with this approach and wrote to the Provost to ask for this decision to be reversed. We’re in constant communication with UCL Accommodation and will continue to work on this matter.

     

  • Impact on students from September

    Working on it

    We're working closely with colleagues across UCL to ensure the return to UCL in term one. UCL's COVID-19 management structure can be viewed here.

    Students' Union staff and officers are members of all relevant Bronze and Silver level workstreams, ensuring student voices are heard.

  • Exams and assessments

    Completed

    Update 11 May: Exams and online assessments start on Monday 18 June - good luck! If you run into any difficulty, please contact our advice service.

    Update 1 May: You should have heard by now about assessments taking place in term three. If you still haven't had confirmation, contact your department as soon as possible, if you're still struggling to get clarity on your assessments, contact our advice service.

    Update 8 April:  Sabbatical Officers, Ashley and Jim, have been pushing for UCL to amend the current academic regulations and have secured substantial changes that ensure you are not disadvantaged in these challenging times. Working in partnership with us, UCL are ensuring as many students as possible progress to the next stage of their studies, or graduate at the end of this academic year. The "no detriment" policy, attempts to ensure that academic outcomes aren't negatively impacted by the alternative assessments taking place this summer, recognising students’ academic performance so far (where applicable), and incorporating substantive safety-net rules to mitigate the impact the current situation could potentially have. You can read all about it here

    Update 2 April: Ashley, Education Officer, and Jim, Postgraduate Students’ Officer, are both part of the Remote Teaching and Exam Delivery Groups. In these groups they have been working on influencing communications and FAQs sent to students regarding exams and alternate assessments, they're working on an update on the academic misconduct guidance, they've worked with UCL on a relaxation on the extenuating circumstances requirements, and they're working on ensuring the continuance of (some alternative to) Late Summer Assessments despite the expanded assessment period (so students still have the chance to retake these assessments if they so desire).

    We’re working to the general principle that exams will not be used as an assessment unless absolutely necessary for academic standards or other pedagogic reasons, with the aim that most assessments would move to a coursework based assessment.

    Friday 20 March: A message was sent to all first-year Undergraduates on Friday 20 March confirming that "all first-year undergraduate assessments have been cancelled. Instead, every first-year undergraduate student will be required to undertake a 1st-year capstone assessment - a single short piece of work to reflect on their learning across their programme this year."

  • Students in financial difficulty due to loss of earnings

    Working on it

    There are now several ways to receive financial support or to compensate you on additional spending you've had to make as a result of changes to your circumstances.

    A full list of the support available is listed here

  • Mental Health support for medics asked to volunteer

    Completed

    Update 31 March: The RUMS Medical Students Association have developed an online support hub with links to relevant support for medical students. Access the page here.


    Medics have been asked to volunteer in NHS roles to support the national effort to beat the virus. We anticipate that our medics may need additional and specific mental health support during and after their time in the NHS. We are discussing how best to provide this support.

  • Emergency accommodation

    Completed

    Update 1 May: If you are having accommodation issues, please contact our Advice Service. 

    Update 20 March: UCL have confirmed that they are “committed to providing safe housing for those who are unable to leave London or who have no alternative accommodation.”

    We’ll follow this up and find out how this will work. We’ve been in discussion with UCL Accommodation about how to provide emergency accommodation for students not able to travel home and facing eviction.

    UCL have said they "will do everything it can to support its students returning early from study abroad and seeking UCL accommodation. If you have any concerns about your living arrangements, please contact the Accommodation Office"

  • Extenuating circumstances

    Completed

    Update 20 MarchUCL has agreed that students can self-certify if they have Extenuating Circumstances for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. Read more here.


    On 16 March we requested updated guidance from UCL on students applying for Extenuating Circumstances due to Coronavirus.

  • Disabled students’ support

    Completed

    Update 11 May: All SORAs are still active. We're continuing to raise disabled students' experience in UCL working groups. Disabled students with a SORA already in place can access an extension of one additional week where possible, however may be granted a deferred assessment instead. Read more here.

    Update 27 March: Coursework extensions for those with a SORA is currently one week and the current plan is that any alternative assessments used in place of an exam would also include a one-week extension for students with a SORA.


    We’re urgently finding out how UCL is planning to support disabled students, comply with Statement of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA), enable support workers, and generally support disabled students health.

  • Guidelines for transitioning to remote learning

    Completed

    We're seeking clarification on how students are being supported to move their learning online, both our Education Officer and Postgraduate Students' Officer are part of the Remote Teaching Delivery Group and will provide updates on this area.

    Current advice from UCL can be found here.

  • Students returning from interruption

    Completed

    Update 27 March: UCL are developing an FAQ for students returning from interruption, with a priority being students returning in the third term. UCL are currently assessing how many students are likely to be impacted. UCL will send targeted communication to students affected. 


    We are seeking clarification on how students returning from an interruption of studies are being kept informed and supported in the current situation.

  • Student parents and carers

    Completed

    Update 1 May: If you feel that your caring responsibilities have impacted your studies, please consider using the extenuating circumstances process. 

    Student parents and carers are being asked to study from home, however, this is increasingly challenging as they may have to care for persons who are high risk and with schools and childcare facilities now closed this adds to the challenge. We’re are gathering information through our Student Parents and Carers network to understand the impact of this and will seek further support and guidance from UCL.

  • Lack of technology or internet restrictions

    Completed

    Update 11 May: The Emergency Assistance fund is now closed, we're investigating how laptop loans will be administered.  

    Update 27 March: Students can apply to access the Emergency Assistance Fund to cover the costs of purchasing wi-fi dongles to support their online learning in Term Three. If you need access to a laptop to undertake online learning or assessment, you can also apply to the Emergency Assistance Fund to cover the cost of purchase.

    If you are having technical issues, including VPN issues, please contact ISD on itservices@ucl.ac.uk  / +442076795000 / ISD Website


    Teaching and assessment is moving online where possible, however, many students don’t have access to the appropriate technology (laptop, decent internet connection) or have returned to a country where some learning resources are not accessible or are blocked. We are seeking urgent clarification on how UCL will support students in this situation.