FAQ – COVID-19

Please check this FAQ for answers about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak affects student finance. We will be updating this article regularly and it will remain available as long as necessary.

14 September 2020

A. Registration and attendance

Q1: If we are unable to have face-to-face engagement with new students before confirming registration for this year, what should we do?

A: We do not have any specific procedures for you to follow. Registration means that you are content a student is enrolled on the course. Therefore, you need to be satisfied that the student is enrolled on the course before submitting a registration confirmation. It is therefore up to you to determine what you deem as appropriate engagement before you confirm registration.

B. Payments

Q1: Will payments still be permitted to childcare providers (CCPs) if the CCP is still taking the children, but the university is closed?

A: 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 cost charged, or the maximum applicable rate of CCG, whichever is lowest. CCG is an income-based product.

Q2: In terms of overpayment recovery, are there any relaxed processes for students who are finding themselves in increased financial difficulty due to COVID-19?

A: Students can apply for changes to overpayment recovery through the standard financial hardship form process and ask for deferment of loan overpayment recovery.

C. Courses and term dates

Q1: What action do we need to take if our term dates are changing within the same month in AY 2020/21?

A: Term dates changing by less than 5 working days – If your term start date is changing by less than 5 working days within the same working week, there is no need to update your term dates on CMS. In this scenario, you will only need to update your term dates on CMS if the change affects the long course loan duration. For example, your course is now longer or shorter than 30 weeks and 3 days.

Term dates changing by more than 5 working days – If your term dates are changing by more than 5 working days, or by less but the new term start date is into the next working week, you will need to change your term dates on CMS accordingly. If you are certain that your dates will not change again, you should update the term dates on CMS as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that reassessments are completed for all applicants.

You should not create a new version of your course with the new term dates. Any changes required should be made to your existing course. This will avoid the need for transfer CoCs. Please contact your HEP account manager before you make any changes.

Q2: What action do we need to take if our term dates for AY 2020/21 are changing into the next month?

A: Where your term start date is changing month (but not outside the season), there is validation within CMS to prevent you from making this change. However, we can make this change for you. To allow us to make this change on your behalf, you will need to complete a pro forma. Please contact your HEP account manager who will discuss the process and provide the relevant form.

Q3: If we change our term dates, will this affect students receiving their maintenance?

A: Regardless of the length of change, payments to students will be made after registration is confirmed. We are unable to pay Maintenance Loan until we receive a registration. Therefore, if you amend your term dates, this will affect a students payment date. Entitlement will not be affected if the course remains the same length. In all instances, please ensure you have advised your students of the change to term dates and how this will affect their payment schedule.

Q4: Due to COVID-19, we are looking to restructure our programmes into a condensed year for AY 2020/21 only, for example changing the start date from September 2020 to January 2021. Is this possible?

A: For further information on this process, please see the specific guidance about temporary winter term courses.

Q5 (NEW): If we are using the new seasonal start guidance, can we have some students on the autumn start and some on the new compressed course with a winter start?

A: Yes, you are able to have students on both autumn start and winter start programmes.

D. Student assessment, entitlement and changes in circumstances

Q1: Is it up to the university or college if we want to waive tuition fees?

A: Yes. When you do, you should submit a fee loan reduction CoC to ensure the tuition fee loan matches the fee liability. Please contact your HEP account manager to discuss this.

Q2: Some students cannot engage due to COVID-19 and are unable to complete the year within the normal timeframes. Will they be entitled to additional support and will they need to use their gift year for this?

A: Yes, it has been confirmed that existing previous study rules, including Compelling Personal Reasons, will apply to students who have to repeat or extend their period of study. Students can ordinarily access support for the duration of their course, plus an additional year. However, if a student needs to repeat due to extenuating circumstances, they can apply to us for a further, additional year of support for Compelling Personal Reasons.

Q3: Can we withdraw students?

A: If a student wants to withdraw from a course, you should follow the standard procedure in arranging this for them. If a student’s study has been disrupted by COVID-19, you should not process a withdrawal if you are offering alternative mechanisms for the delivery of educational services. However, if you have submitted a withdrawal due to COVID-19, please revoke this to ensure that it does not affect a student’s payment.

Q4: Can we suspend students due to COVID-19?

A: You should not use suspension in cases connected to COVID-19. Our system does allow for you to submit suspensions under the health category, but you should not use this for students suffering from COVID-19. The illness generally does not last more than 2 weeks. Therefore, submitting the suspension will only increase work for you and us. It can also cause hardship for the student if late or inaccurate resumptions lead to blocked payments.

In the current circumstances, we ask that you wait for a student to be away from learning due to health reasons for 60 days before submitting a CoC. If this occurs the best practice is to backdate the effective date to accommodate for the 60-day allowance built into the suspension due to health reasons CoC.

The suspension functionality will continue to be available. You should use this as normal where a student has agreed to a leave of absence, with the view to returning in the future.  At that point you can submit the resumption CoC to let us know that the student has returned to study.

Q5: Some students are affected by COVID-19 in a way that does not have to do with their health, such as lack of internet, a laptop or online learning. Can we use suspensions for these students?

A: You should not submit suspension CoCs for students in these situations. If they cannot interact with the online teaching that is taking place, you must look to engage them in another way.

If you cannot offer alternative learning arrangements, you should not submit a suspension CoC. This will allow us to make maintenance payments to the student.

Q6: Can we use repeat study for students affected by the COVID-19 restrictions?

A: You can now resume repetition tasks. But please prioritise your work as we are expecting a significant increase in this type of CoCs. Please give priority to final year repetitions to streamline the students' application process.

The repetition notification will confirm to us that the student has extended their period of eligibility and we do not need further evidence. If the repeat is a result of the impact of COVID-19, please state this in the text box. This will let us make CPR assessments more efficiently where needed.

Q7 (UPDATED): If an NHS student has volunteered to support during the pandemic, has joined the Nursing Emergency Register or the completion of their course has been impacted by COVID-19, will they have access to additional support when they return?

A: Students in these circumstances will be able to make an application for additional support when they return.

In AY 2020/21 students, including nurses, can qualify for extended funding into the new academic year if their repeat study period is full-time and meets the minimum number of weeks (24 in a non-final year and 8 weeks in a final year). Students would be applying under a 2020/21 application.

Students can ordinarily access support for the duration of their course, plus an additional year. Where a student needs to repeat or extend their studies due to extenuating circumstances, they can apply to SFE or SFW for a further additional year of support on compelling personal reasons.

However, if the teaching is in relation to AY 2019/20 and goes past 31 August 2020, as may be the case with a course which normally starts in November, then they cannot qualify for further support for this academic year as students will have exhausted this proportion of their funding and no further extensions can be granted to towards this academic year.

If the teaching for AY 2020/21 does not meet the minimum length of time as specified above, students will not qualify for support.

Q8: There are nurses who cannot undertake their NHS placement for health or shielding reasons and need extra weeks to undertake the placement when it is safe to do so. What funding is available and what is the process?

A: You should submit a repetition CoC and the student should apply for CPR for extra funding. You should add a note in the box to explain the repetition CoC is due to COVID-19.

Q9: We have postgraduate students who have been unable to complete their courses. Can they apply for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR)?

A: Students who are unable to complete their previous master’s course in AY 2019/20 because of COVID-19 will be able to apply for CPR if they are starting a new course 'from scratch' in the future (in AY 2020/21 or later). However, they cannot get additional support for repeats or extensions on their current course, as is usual for postgraduate master’s funding.

Q10: What happens where students want to interrupt their studies, perhaps for a year, due to the move to online modes of teaching and the general disruption caused by COVID-19 and come back later when things are back to normal?

A: If students want to interrupt their studies for a year or more due to COVID-19 then the normal suspension and resumption process applies.

Q11: Can second year master's students change from a September start in year 1 to a January start for year 2 of the course?

A: For SFE and SFW students on 2-year master's courses, this can be done by submitting Suspension and Resumption CoCs. This will not extend the course length past the original course end date. It will reprofile the remaining payments across the remainder of the course after the resumption CoC has been processed.

If the resumption is processed after the original course end date (that is, a 2-year course now becomes a 3-year course) the student will receive any remaining payments in one instalment.

For SAAS courses you should contact SAAS directly to make any changes.

E. Study abroad

Q1: When submitting CoCs, should we be suspending the learner from the day they returned to the UK, or the day they left the university or college to go into self-quarantine?

A: If a student is unwell, they have 60 days automatic support for being absent for health reasons. Since the illnesses caused by COVID-19 generally do not last this long, we advise that you do not submit a CoC for suspension or otherwise, unless the student has a known long-term illness, and only one which means they will not be able to continue with their study remotely.

Q2: We have students who cannot complete their year abroad due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and will transfer back onto a 3-year degree scheme ('losing' their year abroad and 1 years' worth of funding entitlement) Will these students be in overpayment or will a discretionary approach likely be taken? Will the student need to follow the Compelling Personal Reasons process to request discretionary funding, or will this be automatically allocated?

A: Eligible full-time students who cannot complete this academic year due to COVID-19 and will need to retake all or part of this a year, may qualify for an additional year of support. The standard entitlement for fee loan support on full-time undergraduate courses is the length of a student’s course, plus one extra year if needed, less any years of previous study. However, we also make provision for a further year of fee support, in addition to the standard entitlement, in certain circumstances where students need to repeat a year of their current course for compelling personal reasons. Students attending an additional year of study also qualify for loans for living costs.

Q3: If we have students who may be eligible for Compelling Personal Reasons, how do they apply?

A: If a student has already used their extra year of support and needs a further year of funding, then they can apply for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR). Students should follow the process and guidance available on the Practitioner website

If a student needs an additional year of funding due to the pandemic, you should submit a repetition CoC and include a note to say that this is due to the pandemic. The student will then not need to provide any additional information or evidence.

However, if the circumstances of the student applying for CPR are not related to the pandemic, the usual process will follow and they will need to provide evidence to support their application.

Q4: If a student is undertaking study abroad in AY 2020/21, but doing it from home in the UK initially, how will you calculate their funding?

A: Students who intend to study abroad later in the academic year, but are staying in the UK for term one and undertaking teaching with their home university or college, will be assessed for the applicable UK-based maintenance loan rate. The loan rate awarded is dependent on the student’s situation for the majority of the term. In the case of an equal split, the more generous loan rate will be awarded (this is current policy).

If they then travel abroad later in the academic year (including travel in the latter half of term one) they will receive abroad rates in terms 2 and 3.

Where the duration of study at the home university or college is 10 weeks or more in the academic year, the fees will not be capped at the abroad year rate of £1385 and the university can request a fee up to £9250.

You can find further placement questions in section H – Placement.

F. Communications with students

Q1: What are students being told?

A: You can find our latest guidance on the GOV.UK website. We are developing and maintaining parallel FAQs and will use our online and social media channels to inform students.

To ensure the consistency of our student communications, we are in regular dialogue with:

  • the Office for Students (OfS)
  • the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
  • the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
  • the Education Authority (NI)
  • the 4 education departments of the UK
  • sector representatives on our stakeholder advisory groups

G. Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

Q1: Will SLC accept remote Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) assessments as evidence to support a DSA application?

A: It would not be for SLC comment on whether remote SpLD assessments are appropriate. The organisations that set the standards for SpLD assessments would need to determine whether a remote method of assessment meets their requirements.

Guidance on what SFE and SFW can except as evidence of SpLD can be found online:

SFE: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/1754/ssin-0420-sasc-diagnostic-assessment.docx

SFW: https://www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/practitioners/policy-information/information-notices.aspx  

Practitioners should refer to guidelines outlined by SASC about the requirements for evaluations of need.

Download DSA specific FAQs

H. Placement

Q1: Due to Covid-19 our placements will not take place this year. What do I need to do with my course? What should I do with students who have already applied for the placement year?

A1: Where you have a course that is currently set up with a placement year, but the current expectation is that none of your students are going on a placement in AY 2020/21, you will need to update your course information on CMS. We would ask that you increase the course fee to your normal full year rate to allow students to access the full funding available on a non-placement year. Due to CMS, you are not able to remove the placement attribute once you have saved your course, however this does not impact this task.

We will then ask that you submit a fee CoC, with details of the change to a non-placement fee AY and indicating that the student is currently studying at university. It is very important that you include these details to ensure that each student is correctly reassessed on the correct fee limit and living cost entitlement. For any students that have not yet applied for funding, they will be automatically assessed at the correct fee rate.

Upon rollover next year, you will need to amend the course fees back down on the placement year to enable SLC to correctly assess students in AY 2021/22.

We would advise that you inform your account manager when you have updated your fess and completed your fee CoCs so that we can carry out reassessments. 

We anticipate that situations in the coming year will change, so please ensure you are only carrying out the change to increase support when it is fully confirmed that a student’s placement is not going ahead. We would also ask that should the student’s situation change, and they end up undertaking a part year placement later in AY 2020/21, you submit a further fee CoC to inform us of the details so that we can carry out any re-assessments if they are needed.

In order to prevent COVID-19 impacting standard entitlement you should not transfer students off the placement variation of the course, even where they expect to complete at the end of AY 2020/21.

Q2: We are looking at deferring this year’s placements until next year. Do I need to update my course on CMS? What does this mean for students who have already applied?

A2: Where you have a course that is currently set up with a placement year, but you are deferring your placement year to next year, you will need to update your course information on CMS. We would ask that you increase the course fee to your normal full-year rate to allow students to access the full funding available on a non-placement year.

We will then ask that you submit a fee CoC, with details of the change to a non-placement fee with details of the change to a non-placement fee AY and indicating that the student is currently studying at university. It is very important that you include these details to ensure that each student is correctly reassessed on the correct fee limit and living cost entitlement. Any students who have not yet applied for funding will be automatically assessed at the correct fee rate.

Upon rollover next year, you would need to amend the course fees back down on the placement year to enable us to correctly assess students in AY 2021/22. In AY 2021/22 for any students entering a year of the course, which is not normally the placement year  (typically year 4) and who wish to undertake the placement year, you should advise the student to apply indicating they intend to undertake placement, and follow-up with by submitting a fee CoC. This will to allow them to access the reduced rate of loan while on placement. This will also ensure minimal disruption to students who are not going on placement.

We would advise that you inform your account manager when you have updated your fees and completed the fee CoCs so that we can carry out reassessments. 

We anticipate that situations in the coming year will change, so please ensure you are only carrying out the change to increase support when it is fully confirmed that a student’s placement is not going ahead. We would also ask that should the student’s situation change, and they end up undertaking a part year placement later in AY 2020/21, you submit a further fee CoC to inform SLC of the details to enable any re-assessments to be carried out.

In order to prevent COVID-19 impacting standard entitlement you should not transfer students off the placement variation of the course, even where they expect to complete at the end of AY 2020/21.

Q3: Due to COVID-19, some of our students are unable to go on their placement this year, however some students are still able to continue with their placement as planned. What do I need to do with the students who are not going on placement to ensure they receive they correct level of funding?

A3: Where you have a course with a placement year and some students are still going ahead with the placement year, but others are not, you are required to change information on CMS.

We would ask that you increase the course fee to your normal full-year rate. You will need  to submit fee CoCs to demonstrate the correct status for each student in AY 2020/21. It is important that you provide details of the change in the notes section. This is so we can reassess students at the correct rate.

Upon rollover for next academic year, you will need to amend the course fees back down on the placement year so that we can correctly assess students in AY 2021/22. If you have some students who will undertake their placement year in year 4 and others who will continue on campus, we would expect for you to complete this exercise again and submit fee CoCs so we can correctly assess students who would be undertaking a placement year.

We would advise that you inform your account manager when you have completed your fee CoCs so we can carry out reassessments.

We anticipate that situations in the coming year will change, so please ensure you are only carrying out the change to increase support when it is fully confirmed that a student’s placement is not going ahead. We would also ask that should the student’s situation change, and they end up undertaking a part year placement later in AY 2020/21, you submit a further fee CoC to inform us of the details so we can carry out any reassessments should they be needed. If you are already aware that your placement will take place in a different term in the same AY, you should follow the advice to amend your course fee details and submit fee CoCs detailing when students will be on placement so we can correctly reassess them.  

In order to prevent COVID-19 impacting standard entitlement you should not  transfer students off the placement variation of the course, even where they expect to complete at the end of AY 2020/21.

I. SSIN 06/20 - AY 2020/21 funding arrangements for students impacted by COVID-19

The following questions should be reviewed in conjunction with SSIN 06/20. They cover all English and Welsh students.

Q1: Do we need to make changes to a student’s account if they are unwell due to COVID-19 in the next academic year (2020/21)?

A: If the student is unwell and unable to engage with their course, we would not anticipate that you submit a suspension CoC until 60 days after they stop engaging. We are aware a number of HEPs are planning to provide a mix of attendance and online learning. If the student is able to engage with teaching remotely, a suspension CoC is not needed.

Q2: Will students be eligible for further support if they are shielding due to COVID-19?

A: If the student is shielding due to COVID-19 and unable to engage with their course, it will first be considered under the 60 days' additional support for health reasons. If a student’s individual circumstances mean they exceed the existing 60 days' health allowance, we will review on a case by case basis if we can grant further support.

As a number of HEPs are planning on providing a mix of attendance and online, we would anticipate that students will still be able to engage with the course online if they are shielding. This would not be considered a suspension and as such we do not need a suspension CoC to be submitted.

Q3: If students are going to be studying online at the start of the academic year 2020/21, what funding are they eligible for?

A: If a student is on a course which would ordinarily require attendance, but will be studying online as a result of COVID-19, we will count them as in attendance for the purposes of student finance. This means that the usual attendance and registration procedures apply and we will pay students as normal. We would not expect you to make any changes to your course details.

Courses ordinarily delivered via distance learning should remain this way on CMS.

Q4: We have students who had planned to study abroad in AY 2020/21, but they are now studying online with their overseas provider. What options are available?

A: Students who would have been studying a year of the course abroad in AY 2020/21 will continue to be deemed in attendance. They therefore qualify for support if they are living in the UK and studying online due to COVID-19.

If the online study is provided by the overseas HEP and they are studying full time at the home HEP for less than 10 weeks, then the 15% fee cap will apply. However, students will not qualify for the increased overseas rate of maintenance loan during periods of online study from the UK. They must travel overseas to receive this rate. It is important that you tell us when a student is studying online with an overseas HEP (and for which periods). This will allow us to reassess them for both maintenance and tuition fees and ensure they are getting the correct funding. DfE’s Student Support Information Note 06/20 advises HEPs to exercise discretion when charging the full year fee for students who fall just outside of the 10 week limit as a result of COVID-19.

Q5: We have students who were due to travel abroad in AY 2020/21, but this has been delayed due to COVID-19. What support are they eligible for?

A: Students who were due to travel but need to delay this due to COVID-19 are eligible for normal funding. We need you to keep us informed of a student's study pattern and when they will be in the UK and abroad. This will ensure that we can assess them at the correct rates if they subsequently move abroad to complete their studies.

Q6: We have EU students who are due to start with us in September but are unable to be in the UK at the start of the academic year. Do they still meet the residency requirements?

A: If any student is unable to reside in the UK or EU due to COVID-19, on the dates relevant to establishing eligibility, they are considered ‘temporarily absent’ and subsequently will be eligible for funding, subject to meeting all other eligibility criteria. Students are encouraged to return to the UK or EU (if studying overseas) as soon as it is safe and practical to engage with their course in person.

Q7: We have distance learning students who have returned to their home country during COVID-19. Are they still eligible for support?

A: It has been confirmed that these students are still eligible for funding if they are unable to reside in (or return to) the UK due to COVID-19. They must otherwise meet the requirements for funding, but we consider this period of study to be in the UK. In addition, if students are unable to start their distance learning course in the UK due to COVID-19, they will be able to do so from their home country. In both of these circumstances, students are encouraged to return to the UK as soon as this is safe and practical.

Q8: If a student has applied for funding at their university town, but intends to reside at their parental home even initially, do they need to inform us of this change?

A: Yes, as in any other year it is important that students update us on where they are residing as this will affect the rate of maintenance loan that they qualify for. You should raise this with your students if you can.

This means that for every term, if a student changes address (for instance moves from their parental home and returns to their university accommodation), they will need to let us know as they may need a reassessment. We will be issuing separate communication to students so that they are aware of the need to update their addresses with us.

Q9: We have postgraduate EU students who do not have a UK bank account. Are you still able to pay them?

A: Our systems do not allow for payments into international bank accounts. We are unable to make these payments until a student sets up a UK bank account.

Q10: EU students who cannot travel to the UK in AY 2020/21 may need to study online. This means they will not be able to set up UK bank accounts. Can the Bursary Administration Service (BAS) pay bursaries into EU bank accounts?

A: We are unable to make bursary payments to non-UK bank accounts. Whilst all returning students should have a UK account, first-year students may not have this option so you would need to pay the student any bursary directly.

J. Migrant workers

Q1: If a student’s situation has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, are they still eligible for support as a Migrant Worker?

A: If a student has previously met the criteria to qualify as a Migrant Worker, furlough will be considered employment and therefore, the student may continue to qualify for support under this category. All Migrant Worker applications are assessed on a case by case basis, and any complex cases will be reviewed with the Department for Education to ensure they are being correctly assessed.

If a student has become involuntarily unemployed or is self-employed with no work, they should register with the relevant unemployment office (which is usually the Jobcentre / DWP) and may continue to qualify as a Migrant Worker under the retention of work status rule.

If a student  currently does not meet the criteria to qualify as a Migrant Worker, they can apply for this support throughout their studies. Therefore, if they do not currently meet the requirements, but do so at a later date, they can apply if there are changes to their employment status.

K. Travel grant queries

Q1: Some governments are imposing mandatory quarantine. Are these costs considered under the travel grant?

A: No, mandatory quarantine costs imposed by the local government cannot be covered under the travel grant.

Q2: Can the cost of COVID-19 testing on entry or, in some cases, exit from a country be paid for under the travel grant?

A: Yes, mandatory COVID-19 testing on entry and exit can be paid for under the travel grant.

L. Miscellaneous

Q1: What are the operating hours and contact methods for SLC?

A: The latest information on opening hours for students to contact SLC is available on GOV.UK 

You can also contact our Partners Support Desk via telephone. The practitioner helpline is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and all other lines Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Q2: Should we still mail documents to SLC?

A: Yes, our mail rooms are open to receive documents.

Q3: What address should students use when applying for funding for the next academic year?

A: Providers need to confirm to their students as soon as possible whether they will be starting the academic year on campus or not, and to advise their students accordingly whether to apply with a home address or one used for campus-based learning.

M. FAQ specific to AY 2019/20

Q1: We are moving to complete our teaching through online delivery. Will you make payments as normal?

A: We do not intend to change payments as a result of the change in delivery. We will deem the course to be completed based on the original course intention. We do not need any CoCs for changes in intensity or mode of study. 

Q2: Do we need to notify you of changes to term dates, methods of study and other such details?

A: Not if the change is a result of delaying your AY 2019/20 summer term in response to COVID-19. But if you are planning significant restructures, please contact your HEP account manager.

Q3: Do I need to amend my course details in CMS for AY 2019/20?

A: The only time you need to notify us is if you are extending your term dates past 30 weeks and 3 days, where students become eligible for long course loans. You will need to notify the Partners Support Desk of these changes as students are entitled to additional funding per week up the maximum of 45 weeks, where students become eligible for the full-year rate. This also applies to final year students.

If the extension of study period is only to allow more time for exam resits, then this will not be eligible for extra weeks of funding so please don't submit any changes.

The latest third term end date for a course starting in the autumn term of AY 2019/20 is 31 August 2020.

If your course is already over 45 weeks there is no need to change your term dates as students will already be receiving the full-year rate.

You do not need to notify us if you want to make changes to your current term dates, either by changing the start or end date, where it does not impact the Long Course Loan duration. Your students will be paid in line with the original term dates you have entered into CMS. This process will reduce the number of reassessments.

Students who may need additional support hours from a non-medical helper due to a course extension can discuss this with their needs assessor, who will in turn contact our DSA team for approval.

Q4: Where term dates are shortened, will maintenance entitlement be clawed back from next year's funding?

A: If the third term dates of a course in its final year are shortened (and were originally greater than 30 weeks and 3 days) we will not be actively seeking recovery of overpayments. However, if the course is not in its final year, any outstanding overpayments will be netted off from the student’s maintenance support in AY 2020/21.

Q5: When considering extending final year course length, would it be possible to do this at course level or individual student level if necessary? If students would be expected to complete in August but fail, they will be entitled to resits and this would be in October?

A: Changes to courses cannot be made on an individual student level and need to be done at course level. If a course is extended beyond 30 weeks and 3 days to allow for additional teaching weeks, we require you to tell us in advance as this will trigger a reassessment and students will now be eligible for long course loans. However, If the extension is merely to allow students to resit final exams, then this is not deemed as funded study, and no changes to the course should be made.

Q6: If a student returns home due to COVID-19 will they be reassessed from elsewhere rate to home rate?

A: For AY 2019/20 no, it has been confirmed that students will not be reassessed and will be paid as expected for their next instalment.

Q7: Some students need an extension to complete an AY 2019/20 course due to childcare issues related to COVID-19. Can they get additional childcare funding?

A: Students can get additional weeks of childcare funding in these circumstances. You should submit a Fee CoC with the extension dates included, and request additional childcare funding in the text box.

Q8: Will you be providing special dispensation for students on the Erasmus+ scheme, or who are currently studying a year abroad and may be forced to return home or suspend their studies?

A: We will continue to make scheduled tuition payments to providers for the remainder of the current 2019/20 academic year. Students will also continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for 2019/20. Both tuition and living costs payments will continue irrespective of whether providers have made alternative arrangements for teaching.

Q9: Will providers receive their tuition fee payments as expected, regardless of whether a student has returned to the UK from study abroad?

A: Providers will continue to receive their scheduled payments as expected, this includes fees for Erasmus students.