Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021

Questions from higher education providers

Study abroad

Q1: When we submit a CoC, should we suspend the student from the day they returned to the UK, or the day they left the university or college to go into self isolation?

A: If a student is unwell, they have 60 days of automatic support for being absent for health reasons. The illness caused by COVID-19 generally does not last this long, so you should not submit a CoC for suspension or otherwise. You should only submit it if the student has a known long-term illness that will stop them from continuing their studies remotely.

Q2: We have students who cannot complete their year abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will transfer back onto a 3-year degree scheme. This means 'losing' their year abroad and a year of funding entitlement. Will these students be in overpayment or are you likely to take a discretionary approach? Will the student need to follow the Compelling Personal Reasons (CPR) process to request discretionary funding or will you give this automatically?

A: Eligible full-time students who cannot complete this academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will need to retake all or part of the 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. This may apply if 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 (CPR), 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 CPR. Students should follow the process and guidance about Compelling Personal Reasons on our practitioners website.

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.

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