COVID-19 Financial Support

On 18th January, 2021, the Welsh Government announced an additional £40m for universities to support students facing financial hardship, helping those most affected by the pandemic with expenses such as accommodation costs.

This additional fund has been distributed across the Welsh Universities and is aimed at tackling inequality and helping those most in need. Cardiff University are responsible for distributing their share of this fund to students in need to address things like

  • ‘Digital poverty’ and help accessing online learning and assessment;
  • Costs incurred due to self-isolating;
  • Paying for accommodation that you are not able to use;
  • Financial hardship caused by the pandemic, especially where this is threatening the completion of your course.

Cardiff University are distributing their share of this fund through their new support package. This package has been created to help you access the further financial support and has been separated into three sections. Each of the three sections have different criteria and deadlines for you to apply.

In terms of rent rebates, it is our understanding that the rebates being offered to students in University owned residences were not coming from the Welsh Government fund. For students in privately rented accommodation, the situation is more complicated. If you have a contract for privately rented accommodation and are struggling to meet the costs, or have been paying for accommodation you did not access, you can apply to the COVID-19 student support package, as detailed below.

Importantly, there is currently nothing on the COVID-19 student support package intranet page to say that you cannot receive funding under all three areas if you are eligible. If, for example, you are receiving £350 because you are a student carer, or you are from a lower income household, you can still apply to the COVID-19 Student Support Fund for a further £350 if you are struggling to meet essential expenses because of the pandemic. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you can also apply to the University's Hardship Fund, called the Financial Assistance Programme and/or, if you do not have the equipment you need for your programme of study, you can apply to the Digital Capability Scheme.

COVID-19 Student Support Fund

All Cardiff university students struggling to meet essential expenses as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can access £350 from the new COVID-19 Student Support Fund. This funding is available to you if you are:

  • undergraduate or postgraduate
  • full-time home (UK) or international or
  • a part-time student studying 60 credits or more during the 2020-21 academic year.

You can submit an application to the COVID-19 Student Support Fund through your online SIMS account, from the week commencing Monday 15 March 2021.

The simple application process will require you to:

  • list the expense(s) you are struggling to meet (for example, rent, utility bills)
  • give the main reason(s) for struggling to meet them (for example, lost income, additional costs)
  • confirm you have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • provide your bank details.

If you have any queries about the COVID-19 Student Support Fund you can email covid19supportfund@cardiff.ac.uk. If you are not happy with, or need advice after their response, please contact Student Advice.

Further support for eligible students

As well as the COVID-19 Student Support Fund above, the University will provide additional support to groups of students the Welsh Government has highlighted as being more adversely impacted by the pandemic. These groups are:

  • Lower income households If the Student Loan Company have assessed your household income as £25,000 or lower, you should receive a top-up bursary from the University of £350. This should be paid directly into the bank account that your student funding is paid into and you should not need to do anything to arrange this yourself. If you are funded by the NHS and have been assessed by the NHS Bursary Awards as having a household income of £25,000 or lower, you should also receive a top up bursary of £350. The University have said that they are currently working out how they will process this and plan to be in contact with you directly. This is applicable to undergraduate students only.
  • Care leavers, estranged students and carers If you have already told the University that you are a care leaver/estranged from your family, or you are a carer, you should receive a top-up bursary of £350 if you have not already received one on the basis of your household income assessment as stated above. If you think that you may belong to one of these groups, after having read the definitions, please email studentfundingandadvice@cardiff.ac.uk to discuss further. The University have said that the distribution of this money will take some time to administer, and that they aim to pay those that are eligible for these top-ups by the end of June. This is applicable to undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  • Learning support awards for disabled students If you are registered with the University as a disabled student, they have said that they are putting in place specific learning support awards to help fund changes you have needed to support your learning. They should be in touch directly with you about this scheme if it applies to you. If no-one has been in contact and you feel that they should have been, we recommend that you email disability@cardiff.ac.uk in the first instance. If you are concerned that the University are not supporting you as they should, you can also contact Student Advice for independent, impartial advice on your options.
  • Digital Capability Scheme If you do not have the equipment you need for your programme of study, you may be eligible for the Digital Capability Scheme. The University's intranet page currently says that they are making some changes to this scheme to make it more accessible.
  • Financial Assistance Programme The University continue to offer their Financial Assistance Programme, which provides means tested help for any student in financial hardship. Additional money has been put into the programme this year.

Residences fee rebate

The option to request a Residences fee rebate has now closed. If you feel that you would have been eligible for a rebate and have a good reason for missing the deadline of the 14th March, 2021, you can contact studentfundingandadvice@cardiff.ac.uk to explain your circumstances. If you have any questions, or need further advice based on the University's response, please contact Student Advice.

Private accommodation rent rebates

The Welsh Government announcement did not specify the type of accommodation eligible for help with rent rebates. Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister said, when announcing the support package,

"This year, due to reasons beyond their control, many thousands of students have not been able to return to campus yet. In some cases, this means some students might still be paying for their accommodation while they are unable to use it. We recognise how difficult this is, which is why we are announcing this additional funding."

It is our understanding that the rebates being offered to students in University owned residences were not coming from the Welsh Government fund. For students in privately rented accommodation, the situation is more complicated. If you have a contract for privately rented accommodation and are struggling to meet the costs, or have been paying for accommodation you did not access, you can apply to the COVID-19 student support package through your online SIMS account. As above, you will need to 

  • list the expense(s) you are struggling to meet (for example, rent, utility bills)
  • give the main reason(s) for struggling to meet them (for example, lost income, additional costs)
  • confirm you have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • provide your bank details.

Also as above, there is currently nothing on the COVID-19 student support package intranet page to say that you cannot receive funding under more than one area if you are eligible. If, for example, you are receiving £350 because you are a student carer, or are from a lower income household, you can still apply to the COVID-19 Student Support Fund for a further £350 if you are struggling to meet essential expenses because of the pandemic. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you can also apply to the University's Hardship Fund, called the Financial Assistance Programme and/or, if you do not have the equipment you need for your programme of study, you can apply to the Digital Capability Scheme.

Contact Student Advice

Advice@cardiff.ac.uk
+44 (0)2920 781410

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