Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021
Questions from higher education providers
Student assessment, entitlement and changes in circumstances
Q1: Is it up to us 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 the COVID-19 pandemic. They are unable to complete the year within the normal timeframe. 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 will apply to students who have to repeat or extend their period of study. This includes rules for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR). Students can usually access support for the duration of their course, plus an extra year. However, if a student needs to repeat due to extenuating circumstances, they can apply to us for a further year of support for CPR.
From July 2021, you or your students will need to give us evidence to support any CPR application. We will revert back to the business as usual process. We will therefore need evidence and will review each application on a case by case basis.
Q3: Can we withdraw students?
A: If a student wants to withdraw from a course, you should follow the standard procedure for this. If their study has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you should not process a withdrawal if you are offering other options for the delivery of educational services. If you have submitted a withdrawal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please revoke it to ensure it does not affect the 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 let you 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, you should wait for a student to be away from learning due to health reasons for 60 days before submitting a CoC. If this happens, the best practice is to backdate the effective date. This will accommodate the 60-day allowance built into the suspension due to health reasons CoC.
The suspension option 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. You can then submit a resumption CoC to let us know that the student has returned to study.
Q5: Can we use repeat study for students affected by the COVID-19 restrictions?
A: Yes, we now accept repetition tasks. The repetition notification will confirm to us that the student has extended their period of eligibility.
From July 2021, you or your students will need to give us evidence to support any Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) application. We will revert back to the business as usual process. We will therefore need evidence and will review each application on a case by case basis.
Q6: We have postgraduate students who have been unable to complete their courses. Can they apply for Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR)?
A: Students who cannot complete their previous master’s course in AY 2019/20 or AY 2020/21 because of COVID-19 will be able to apply for CPR if they are starting a new course 'from scratch' in the future. This would be in AY 2020/21 or later. They cannot get additional support for repeats or extensions on their current course. This is usual for postgraduate master’s funding.
Q7: What happens if students want to interrupt their studies due to the move to online teaching and the general disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic? They are planning to do this for perhaps a year and to return later when things are back to normal.
A: If students want to interrupt their studies for a year or more due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal suspension and resumption process applies.
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