Last Thursday the APPG for Students, which I chair, recommended ‘substantial’ funds to address Covid-related hardship, at least doubling pre-pandemic funding of £256 million, full rent refunds for unused accommodation, and a ‘Learning Remediation Fund’, to address lost educational opportunities (see our report here).
Today the Government has announced £50 million for student hardship saying it is for “those facing additional costs for alternative accommodation, loss of employment, or extra costs to access their teaching online.” Responding to the announcement, I’ve said:
“The Government have acknowledged the problem but failed to provide a solution.
“Our cross-party report called for substantial new hardship funds. Across the whole of England, this is worth around £25 a student. It falls well short of the support made available in Wales and Scotland. It offers no guarantee on rent refunds for unused accommodation and no support to universities to provide additional education to catch up for lost learning.
“It’s disappointing that in its response to our bold calls to protect students and universities, the Government have ducked their responsibility”
Their proposals also fail to address our recommendation for extended studentships for research students, on which I have written to UKRI.