Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021

Questions from higher education providers

SSIN 06/21 – AY 2021/22 funding arrangements for students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

The following questions should be read in conjunction with the SSIN – this guidance applies to English domiciled students only. The SSIN is available to read on the Practitioner website.


Q1: Following COVID-19 restrictions lifting we have amended the format of some of our courses, which include more online learning. Do we need to update CMS and change it to a distance learning course?

A: It is becoming more common to deliver courses that combine different methods of study. These are often known as blended learning courses. They combine traditional classroom teaching with online learning and independent study.

Courses of any teaching method are distance learning if the students only attend occasionally for example, once a term. If students attend regularly, and follow a structured timetable, for example, once a week, the course is not distance learning and you should not add it to CMS as such.

If you are concerned that the structure of your course has changed and are unsure whether it should now be deemed a distance learning course, please contact our Partner Support Desk or your Account Manager.


Q2: We have offered students the option to study completely online for this AY, do we need to let you know?

A: If your students are studying fully online, you will need to transfer them to a Distance Learning version of the course.


Q3: We have students who are resident in the EU and unable to return to the UK at the start of term due to the pandemic, are they still eligible for funding?

A: Students who cannot reside in the UK or EU on the dates relevant to establishing eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic are considered 'temporarily absent'. They will be eligible for funding if they meet all other eligibility criteria.

We would encourage students to return to the UK (or EU if studying overseas) as soon as it is safe and practical.


Q4: Do students need to tell you if their term time address has changed and they are currently residing in their parental home?

A: Yes, guidance on this has reverted to our usual process. If a student’s address has changed and they are no longer residing at their term time address, they will need to let us know. This will mean that the student will be reassessed.


Q5: Are students required to be in attendance at the start of term to receive funding?

A: Yes, this position has reverted to our usual process in that students are required to be in attendance at the start of term to have funding released (with the exception of rules covering students affected by international travel restrictions).


Q6: Will students be eligible for further support if they are shielding due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: If the student is shielding and cannot engage with their course, we will first consider this under the 60 days' additional support for health reasons. If the student’s circumstances mean they exceed this existing allowance, we will decide on a case by case basis if we can grant further support.

We know that some providers plan to provide a combination of in-person and online teaching. We expect that shielding students can still engage with the course. This would not be a suspension, so as such we do not need you to submit a Suspension CoC.


Q7: Some of our students are experiencing Long COVID; is there any support available for them?

A: For students who are suffering with Long COVID, they may be eligible for support through suspension and decisions will be made on a case by case basis. Students will be individually contacted for evidence.

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