TIGA have announced there are new measures to help out universities and students within England that have effected them during COVID-19. This includes public funding for research, tuition free payments, coronavirus support packages, and hardship funds.
You can view an overview of the measures down below:
- Temporary student number controls: This measure is designed to stabilise university admissions this autumn and to help ensure that universities and students are safeguarded at a time of uncertainty. Through the plans, English higher education providers will be able to recruit full-time undergraduate UK and EU students for 2020/2021 up to a temporary set level, which is based on their forecasts for the next academic year, plus an additional 5%. The Government will control these numbers through the student finance system. The Government will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places, with 5,000 ring-fenced for nursing, midwifery or allied health courses to support the country’s vital public services.
- UCAS Clearing: Students will now benefit from a new proactive and personalised clearing process this summer to help broaden students’ horizons. Both ‘placed’ and ‘unplaced’ students will continue to have the opportunity to change their choice of provider/course including once they receive their grades. This will be supported by a new service that can suggest alternative opportunities based on their achievements, their course interest, and other preferences. This will help students to filter through thousands of courses in a structured way. UCAS is also working with BBC Bitesize to give students enhanced advice on applying to university and clearing.
- Research: Science Minister Amanda Solloway MP has announced that £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to this academic year to help protect vital university research activities. The Government will also be establishing a joint Department for Education/BEIS Ministerial Taskforce on university research sustainability to be jointly led by Science Minister, Amanda Solloway (BEIS) and Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan (DfE). It will involve the Devolved Administrations and key stakeholders and advise on the risks associated with the impacts of COVID-19 on university research, and how universities and the Government can work together to ensure the health of university-led research in both the short and long term across the UK.
- Tuition fee payments: An estimated £2.6 billion of tuition fee payments will be brought forward to help universities better manage financial risks over the autumn, including taking steps to improve efficiencies and manage their finances in order to avoid future cash flow problems.
- Government Coronavirus support packages: Higher Education providers are now eligible to apply for the Government’s support packages. These include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loa Scheme (CLBILS) and COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). Office for Students has estimated that this would be worth at least £700 million to the sector, depending on eligibility and take up. The Government has also published guidance about how providers should access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to safeguard staff jobs.
- Hardship funds: The Government have worked with the Office for Students to draw upon existing funding and support disadvantaged students impacted by the coronavirus. Higher education providers will be able to use the funding, totaling £46 million across April and May, towards student hardship funds and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.
- International students: Ministers from the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for International Trade will chair a group, including key sector representatives, to consider how the Government’s International Education Strategy can be updated by Autumn 2020 to respond to the impact of coronavirus. The Government is also committed to introducing the new Graduate Immigration route for international students by summer 2021. This will allow international students to remain in the UK for two years after their studies are finished to find employment here.
- Site acquisition: The Department for Education will consider purchasing land and buildings where they can be used for new or expanding schools and colleges in England. The Government has budgeted up to £100 million to acquire sites for planned projects in England for this financial year.
- Restructuring: Should these measures be insufficient such that a higher education provider finds themselves at risk of closure, in such instances the Department for Education will be working with the Treasury and other Government departments to develop a restructuring regime, through which we will review providers’ circumstances and assess the need for restructuring.