Your financial situation may have been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus situation. For example you may not be able to work, you may be having difficulty paying rent, or you may have questions about your student funding payments. We hope the information below is useful. If after reading this information you have questions, please contact us via our web enquiry form. We have lots more money advice such as budgeting, funding your studies, student finance, fee status, working, and more on our Money web pages.
The Financial Assistance Fund
If your financial circumstances have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus situation, you may be eligible to apply to the university Financial Assistance Fund. This fund can award grants to students in financial hardship to enable them to remain on their course.
Applications are made online via the MySIS portal. The instructions on how to apply as well are here.
Continuing students can apply until Friday 10 July 2020 subject to funds being available, and final year students should apply at least four weeks before the end of your academic year.
You will need to upload certain documents with your application. The required documents will depend on your circumstances but include things like bank statements, evidence of funding, and your housing contract if you are renting. The documentation requirements are explained in the application form in MySIS.
If you have already applied to the Financial Assistance Fund this academic year but your circumstances have now changed, you can apply again by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need help applying, contact a Welfare Adviser.
Medical and Dental students
As well as the Financial Assistance Fund (above), medical and dental students who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may be eligible for a hardship grant from the Dean's Benevolence Fund at the Medical School. You must have taken out the maximum means-tested student maintenance loan that you are eligible for (not just tuition fee loans).
To apply, email a brief statement regarding your circumstances to Kate McFarlane (email@example.com) and she will send you the relevant application form if you fulfil the eligibility criteria.
If you have questions about your Queen Mary studentship please contact the Research Degrees Office firstname.lastname@example.org. The Doctoral College has produced a list of FAQs relating to the Covid-19 situation.
If you have questions about your financial sponsorship please contact your funding body.
International students can apply to the Financial Assistance Fund (see above).
For immigration information please see our dedicated webpage.
Tuition Fee Loan
Tuition Fee Loan payments have been scheduled by the Student Loans Company and should be paid as usual to Queen Mary. This applies regardless of the alternative arrangements for teaching/assessment.
Can I apply for SFE funding for the next academic year?
SFE are continuing to accept and process applications for students starting a course in September 2020 and for current students making an application for the next year of their course.
Applications for home/UK undergraduate students can be made online now. Apply now. Don't delay. If you are a prospective student don't wait until you have accepted a course offer. Course and University details can always be changed at a later date.
EU Nationals applying for the EU Tuition Fee Loan for their undergraduate course cannot apply online so should still apply using a paper application form. Use the SFE Form finder tool to locate the EU application form.
I am a UK national applying for Student Finance England funding for the first time but I don't have a valid UK passport to prove my ID.
Student Finance England have announced that UK nationals who do not have a UK passport only need to provide their original UK birth or adoption certificate. In addition they do not require you to provide an 'Applicant's Declaration of Identity Form' (ADIF) for the academic year 2020/21.
This applies if you are applying for any of the following:
- full-time undergraduate funding
- postgraduate master's and doctoral funding
My parent(s) or partners income has dropped because of the Coronavirus situation. How will this affect my student finance next academic year?
For 2020/21 your maintenance loan entitlement will normally be assessed based on the household income in the 2018/19 tax year. However, if the overall household income for the current tax year (2020/21) is at least 15% less than it was in the 2018/19 tax year, you can ask to be assessed on the current year income instead. This could lead to you being awarded to a higher rate of Maintenance Loan and supplementary grants. To do this you will need to complete a ‘current tax year income assessment form’, which you can get from the gov.uk website.
If your household income was already below the minimum threshold of £25,000 in the tax year 18/19, requesting a current year income assessment won't increase your funding entitlement as you should already be entitled to receive the maximum Maintenance Loan.
To apply for a Current Year Income Assessment you will need to provide details of the household income for the 2018/19 tax year as well as an estimate of the household income for the 2020/21 tax year. At the end of the 2020/21 tax year you will be asked to provide evidence of the actual household income for that period. If your estimate was wrong, SFE can adjust your Student Finance entitlement, which may result in you being paid more money, or in you having to repay some money to SFE.
There are different rules for the CYI process depending on where you live in the UK and the type of student finance you’re applying for. Visit the relevant website:
How will my undergraduate Student Finance be affected in the 2020/21 academic year if I interrupted my studies in the 2019/20 academic year?
If you are an undergraduate student this is explained in our guide Re-taking, Interrupting or Leaving your course.
I am an undergraduate student. Will I be entitled to additional funding if I am required to retake a period next year because COVID affected my studies?
SFE have confirmed that existing previous study rules, including Compelling Personal Reasons will apply to students who have to repeat or extend their period of study with attendance. SFE funding is not available to students who re-sit out of attendance.
The Tuition Fee Loan is only awarded for a fixed number of years. Students can ordinarily access this for the standard duration of their course, plus an additional year. This should be available to you providing you have no previous study at degree level and have not retaken a year or part year before.
However, where a student is required to repeat due to extenuating circumstances, they can apply for a further discretionary additional year of support on Compelling Personal Reasons grounds (CPR). This is especially useful for students who have already used up their standard entitlement to funding. A CPR year can be applied for once an application for 2020/21 has been made. A Welfare Adviser can help you with this.
The Maintenance Loan, the additional grants and the Disabled Students Allowance are not affected and you should be able to receive these for each year of your course even if you have used up your standard years of funding entitlement already.
You can find further information about funding a retake year in our guide to Re-sitting, Interrupting or Leaving your course.
I am a postgraduate student. If I can’t engage with my studies due to COVID-19 and am unable to complete the year will I be entitled to additional funding if I am required to retake a period next year?
SFE have not changed their rules and have confirmed that repeat funding is only possible if a student starts a new course from the beginning in the next academic year. This is only possible once. SFE have stated that students cannot get additional support for repeats or extensions on their current course, as is usual for postgraduate master’s funding.
This is explained further in our Guide to Postgraduate Funding.
If I am undertaking study abroad (next AY, in 2020/21), but doing it from home in the UK initially, how will my funding be calculated?
SFE has stated that students undertaking study abroad but staying in the UK for term 1 will receive the UK based Maintenance Loan rate in term 1. They will receive the Maintenance Loan at the abroad rates in term 2 and 3, if they travel abroad in term 2. SFE have also confirmed that if you are not abroad for the full year the university can also charge a tuition fee of up to £9,250.
I have been receiving SFE funding as a Migrant Worker but am no longer employed due to my employer closing for the COVID-19 shut down. Will I lose my migrant worker status?
If your employment hasn’t been affected and you are still employed, you can apply now for 2020/21 SFE funding as a migrant worker.
If your employment has been affected, SFE advise that you apply to be assessed for the EU Tuition Fee Loan to ensure this is in place to pay your fees in September. You can apply later as a Migrant worker if you find work or once Student Finance England have further information. They are currently working with the Government and will provide a further update once they have clear guidance.
To apply for the EU Tuition Fee Loan you need to apply on a paper form. If this is the first time applying for the EU Tuition Fee Loan, use application form EU20N.
You can read about general information about applying for funding as a migrant worker in the eligibility rules section of our Undergraduate Funding Guide.
You may be able to retain your worker status and continue to receive student finance as an EEA worker if you are temporarily unable to work because of illness, accident or have lost your job involuntarily and are registered in the UK as a job seeker. This is already included in current SFE guidance. Keep any letters or emails you receive from your employer or documents that confirm you have registered as a jobseeker as evidence in case this is requested by SFE.
I am an undergraduate student. Will payments still be made to my Childcare Provider?
Current policy allows for Childcare Grant (CCG) to be paid for prescribed childcare costs, this includes retainer fees, chargers for absence or holidays and additional costs (resources, dinners, trips). As such if you are still being charged by the childcare provider, you can continue to receive CCG.
SFE have also stated that if you are unable to return your latest CCG2 form you should send this later in the term, once you can do this safely. Once they get your form, they will finalise your payments then.
I am a final year MBBS student and have been given early completion so I can go and work in the NHS due to the coronavirus situation. Will my funding be affected?
We are seeking clarification on this and will update this Section once we have further information.
What happens once I graduate?
You will become eligible to repay in the April after graduating. You will then only repay once your earnings reach the threshold for your plan type. You do not need to take any action at this time.
How can I contact SFE?
SFE have confirmed that partial customer contact services are now available, however they anticipate their telephone lines will be very busy. They are working to improve this.
They anticipate that call volumes may be high and their capability to answer these may be limited. They are therefore prioritising complex and urgent cases.
You do not need to contact SFE if you have recently applied for funding for the current academic year or for 2020/21. These are being processed as normal. If any additional evidence is required SFE will request this in due course. You do not need to take any further action at this time.
You can read further information about how to contact SFE in their COVID 19 news section
SFE have produced the following Covid 19 updates:
If you are funded by Student Finance Wales click here
If you are funded by Student Finance Northern Ireland click here
We will also regularly update this page with any further information or clarifications.
If you get Student Finance funding please also see the section above
There is useful information on the NHS BSA web pages for NHS Bursary students about the impact of Coronavirus on funding.
Has your parental income dropped due to the Coronavirus?
If you are applying for an NHS Bursary for 2020/21, and if you are assessed on your parental income, please be aware that the income assessment is based on the previous financial year. For example for the 2020/21 academic year, the 2019/20 tax year income is used. We are aware that some students' parents will have lost or reduced their income due to the Coronavirus situation. If there has been a 15% decrease in income between 2020/21 and 2019/20, you can apply for a Current Income Assessment. This would mean that your NHS Bursary would be based on your parents actual income not their income in the previous tax year.
The application form is available to download from the NHS BSA website under Income, pay and pension forms. The form needs to be completed by the parent/s and most recent income evidence provided such as payslips, P45s, benefit evidence etc for consideration. The NHS BSA would usually check at the end of the year if the income had actually been what was estimated. If the income was higher you would usually be reassessed and may have to repay some of your NHS Bursary if you were overpaid.
Are you currently in financial hardship?
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for a hardship grant from the Dean's Benevolence Fund at the Medical School if you fulfil the following:
- Come from a low income household and have obtained the maximum means-tested student maintenance loans each year (not just tuition fee loans)
- You are a furloughed worker or you have lost your paid employment due to the current crisis
If you believe that you are eligible, email a brief statement regarding your circumstances to Kate McFarlane (email@example.com) and we will send you the relevant application form if you fulfil the eligibility criteria.
If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.
Your employer could pay 80% of your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (paid by the government), up to a monthly cap of £2,500. Your employer can also choose to top this up to 100%. It is up to your employer to decide who can be furloughed. You cannot do any work for your employer while on furlough.
There is guidance on the gov.uk website about the terms and conditions of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
If you are self-employed you may be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme. This can pay up to 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2500 a month. For more information including eligibility criteria please see the gov.uk website
The government is promoting Universal Credit for people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 but do not qualify for either the government schemes for employed or self-employed people (see above). International students with a 'no recourse to public funds' condition on their immigration permission (this includes Tier 4 students) cannot claim Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is not normally available to full time students unless they meet very particular circumstances such as having dependent children or significant health or disability issues. Although the government has lifted work search and work availability requirements it has not extended Universal Credit to full time students unless they are in the groups able to claim. However, you may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re studying full-time and any of the following apply:
- you’re responsible for a child
- you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
- you’re disabled and have limited capability for work and are getting either the Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance
If you are a part time student you should be able to claim.
The Turn2Us website has a welfare benefits calculator
Further advice on all aspects of Covid-19 and income, benefits and housing click here.
Final Year 'home' undergraduates without work or only limited work
If you have not been able to find employment, once your course has officially ended, you can claim universal credit online from the 1st June 2020. You should be able to receive at least £342.72 per month depending on your financial situation, even if you do not have housing costs. If you are liable for rent you may get additional help with this. Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears and can take at least 5 weeks to process. You will need to satisfy any work related requirements that apply to you but these are taking into account the current job situation. You apply or check your entitlement on the gov.uk website.
Temporary rules have been put in place about freezing repayments, and offering interest free overdrafts. For more information see the FCA website.
If you would like to leave your tenancy early because of the Coronavirus situation, the type of tenancy agreement you have for your accommodation will affect whether you can end this early without any financial penalty. There is information on the Queen Mary Housing Services web pages:
If you live in Queen Mary halls click here.
If you live in a private hall of residence click here.
If you rent from a private landlord click here.
There is also information on the Shelter website about your housing rights during the Coronavirus.