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Universities: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 134374, tabled on 8 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on providing extra support for (a) mature students and (b) students with children who may be facing additional pressure and responsibilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

18 January 2021

We realise that this is an incredibly difficult time for students and are aware of the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on some students. In these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. Students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak should contact their higher education provider.

The Department has worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers are able to use OfS Student Premium funding worth around £256 million for this academic year towards student hardship funds.

As announced last month, we are also making available up to £20 million of additional hardship funding to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students.

Students will normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). Full-time students with children can also apply for Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance. Full-time students who are single parents or student couples, one or both of whom are responsible for a child, and part-time students responsible for a child can apply for Universal Credit.