To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the university sector on the potential for rent refunds for students leaving campuses following the suspension of teaching as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
6 May 2020
We expect universities to communicate clearly with residential students on rents for this period and administer accommodation provision in a fair manner. Department officials, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and I are in regular contact with universities and their representative bodies to learn about what they are doing to support students at this time and to guide as appropriate.
We are aware that a number of universities have waived rents for their students who were due to be staying in university halls for the summer term but will now not be doing so.
It is important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to return home. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.
Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year. I have asked institutions to pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time. Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.
To ensure universities can support students who need it most, the Office for Students has relaxed rules on the student premium to top up hardship funds.