Universities can also include academic safety nets for those whose studies are affected by coronavirus.
Pressure is rising on universities in England to give students rental discounts and academic safety nets, as workers and students say they have been left in limbo as institutions are awaiting more government clarification after a last-minute shift at the beginning of the spring term.
The National Student Union and the University and College Union, which represents workers, advise colleges to waive accommodation fees that can not be used by students before face-to-face classes resume. This is expected for most students as the closure ends in mid-February, although the UCU, which last semester controlled more than 50,000 Covid cases on campus, encourages campuses to remain online until Easter.
Some colleges have already dedicated themselves to bringing classes online for longer. The London School of Economics (LSE) has told students that for the rest of the academic year, all compulsory teaching, learning and examinations will be online.
Residences for students and certain parts of the LSE campus, including restricted access to the library, will remain available.
Depending on how the pandemic progresses, LSE management plans to deliver voluntary face-to-face classes starting in mid-February.
“We have made these decisions with a heavy heart … We appreciate that students and staff valued the face-to-face classes in the Michaelmas term, which were successful thanks to our joint efforts. However, the safety of our community is paramount.”We made these choices with a heavy heart… We appreciate that in the Michaelmas term, students and employees valued the face-to-face classes, which were successful thanks to our joint efforts. However, our community’s safety is paramount.
University College London has told its students not to return to campus until the end of February, but to study until at least Feb. 22 online. For the entire spring semester, the University of York has transferred all classes online, although specialized classes in laboratories and performance spaces may be conducted in person later in the semester if approved by officials.
Student financial assistance is inconsistent across universities.
Some, such as Newcastle, have said that once they return to campus, students will not pay rent for the residence halls they run. Universities where student activists have been forced to withhold rent as part of a rising rent strike movement, like Bristol and Manchester, have instituted 30 percent rent reductions before face-to-face classes resume.
At present, other colleges have no proposals for discounts.
Lancaster offers some hardship scholarships instead, although on a case-by-case basis, Middlesex considers applications.
There are also no discounts provided by Student Roost, which runs private halls of residence throughout the UK.
NUS also calls for colleges to reinstate the “no detriment” policy, which offers a safety net for students who, because of interruptions in their schooling, score below the average of their previous grades. Thousands of students at universities around the UK, including Nottingham, Edinburgh, UCL and Exeter, who have signed open letters have joined this call.
Before making final decisions on the compensation and changes they will give their students, several universities are awaiting a statement from the government. For this guide, the Department of Education does not have a release date yet and has not said what it would contain.
The majority of students living in private rental housing would also not be subject to this guide.
More than 50,000 signatures have already been collected for a parliamentary petition calling for students in England to be able to end their housing contracts early because of Covid-19, which would be the same as the rule in Scotland.
Matthew Robinson, a third-year student in Liverpool who signed the petition, said that after the government announcement, the student-focused lettings organization that operates his apartment contacted him by email. “They took the precaution of telling us that they would not be giving any rent discounts because the property was still ‘available for use,’ which I find questionable when by law we are not allowed to return,” he said.
Students are campaigning for fee reductions at the grassroots level as well.
Almost 350,000 signatures have been collected for a parliamentary petition asking for fees to be lowered from £ 9,250 to £ 3,000. The Open University on Jan. 5,