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Important Information and FAQs on COVID-19 and your Finances

Alongside the UK Government advice and our related University guidance regarding your health and well-being during the Coronavirus outbreak, we also thought it would be very useful to post answers to the most frequent finance-related questions we are being asked at the moment.

This is a fast-changing situation, so please keep checking back to this page regularly, as we will be updating it with more information as and when it is announced. 

The Government have also introduced their own Student Finance FAQs pages in conjunction with the Student Loans Company, split into:

Can I still apply for 2020/21 Student Finance as normal?

The short answer is YES, but your national Student Finance provider (Student Finance England, SAAS, Student Finance Wales or Student Finance NI) may take a little longer to process your application. We would therefore advise that you apply for your 2020/21 student finance as soon as possible. 

Student Finance England, for example, have encouraged students to try and apply by certain deadlines in order to be guaranteed to receive your Maintenance Loan on time in September:

  • New students should try to apply before 22nd May 2020
  • Continuing students should try to apply before 19th June 2020

If you apply after those deadlines, your application will still be processed of course, but SFE would not be able to give you that guarantee that your funding will be on time at the start of the new academic year.

UK students can apply online. If you cannot apply online - for example if you are an EU student - you can download an application form here to print off and post. Alternatively, you can call Student Finance and request that they post you the relevant form for your circumstances.

With the University now providing my teaching, materials and support online, will my STUDENT FINANCE still be paid (Maintenance Loan, Tuition Fee Loan, etc)?

The Student Loans Company announced on 20th March 2020 that “students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their maintenance loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching”. Therefore, as long as you are still engaging with your course you will still continue to receive your funding.

(However, if you actually withdraw from your course or take Leave of Absence, those changes in circumstances would need to be reported to your Student Finance provider, and your funding entitlement would change in those cases.)

With the University now providing my teaching, materials and support online, will my NHS FUNDING still be paid (Social Work Bursary, Learning Support Fund, etc)?

The NHS confirmed on 19th March 2020 that they would be making their payments to students as normal, as long as they are still registered on their courses (i.e. not withdrawn or on official Leave of Absence).

I am having to self-isolate, will my Student Finance still be paid (Maintenance Loan, Tuition Fee Loan, etc)?

Whilst neither the Government nor the Student Loans Company have made any specific announcements on this yet, there is already provision in the Student Support Regulations to continue to pay Student Finance for a period of up to 60 days sickness absence before funding is affected. Therefore, if you are self-isolating due to your own illness, you are already covered under those existing regulations. If you are self-isolating for another reason (following Government advice, or from 111 advice), then you can still be engaging with your course teaching online, and therefore the advice in the point above will be relevant to you.

My income has reduced because I can no longer work to support my studies (either due to the closure of my place of work, sickness, or I have had to reduce my hours).

This is a fast-moving situation, with support being introduced by Government to help people whose jobs have been affected by the impact of the virus outbreak.

  • Respected online resource Money Saving Expert have set up a webpage on support available during the virus outbreak - Employment and Self Employment Help. This includes detailed advice on the Government support plans for helping businesses (and workers) in this situation, the income-replacement benefits and grants being introduced, and how you can claim. MSE also have a large section advising on managing your finances thru CV19, including your mortgage/rent and bills - Coronavirus Finance and Bills Help
  • If you are absent from work due to sickness, speak to your employer about the updated Statutory Sick Pay arrangements that the Government has introduced.
  • Speak to your creditors and those who are expecting payments from you – such as mortgage/landlord and companies you have direct debits for – and request payment holidays/breaks in the short term if you need them. See the Money Saving Expert guide on the website mentioned above.
  • Use the services of the University's own Sunderland Futures team to help you find alternative employment. Sign up for their vacancy email alerts here where they (or our employer contacts) post up job opportunities. Follow their social media @UoSFutures where they also post about any additional opportunities. The NHS 111 helpline are advertising for jobs (google ‘NHS 111 jobs’) as are most of the major supermarkets as they are all putting measures in place to cope with increased demand.
  • Contact us about any other options you may have, including any alternative funding from elsewhere, or support from the University such as the University Hardship Fund and the COVID-19 Assistance Fund


I am considering taking Leave of Absence or Withdrawing from my course. What will happen with my Student Finance?

In all cases, regardless of the reason, we would advise students to contact the Student Financial Guidance Team if they have any queries on this.

I am worried about my finances. Who can I contact?

Contact us in the Student Financial Guidance Team about any aspect of your finances while you are a student here at the University of Sunderland.

Also take a look at some of our other FAQs on this page, which refer to some excellent online resources such as Money Saving Expert's guides on support available during the COVID-19 outbreak - Coronavirus Employment and Self Employment Help, and Coronavirus Finance & Bills Help.

I am an International Student. Who can I talk to and which resources should I access?

You can contact us in the Student Financial Guidance Team to talk about any aspect of your finances while you are a student here at the University of Sunderland. We also have other student support teams that you may wish to talk to, such as our Wellbeing Team.

You can speak to our teams at Gateway and International Support regarding questions you might have about study visas and your stay in the UK. Don't forget the Student Union has welfare and support advisers too.

In addition to University support, please take a look at some of the other excellent online resources available such as:

COVID-19 Assistance Fund

The COVID-19 Assistance Fund can provide support to students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. The fund is open to all University of Sunderland students (Home, EU and International) who normally study in the UK, and can offer a non-repayable grant to provide some support through this unprecedented time when many students’ incomes may have been affected.

Please read the information on our webpage COVID-19 Assistance Fund carefully, as it gives you important information and guidance about this new fund, who is eligible, and how to apply.

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