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University accommodation fees - 29 January 2021

Dear students and colleagues

On Wednesday 27 January we were advised by the Department of Education (DfE) that the current restriction on education activities would remain in place until 8 March at the earliest.

Whilst this is disappointing news for us all, we absolutely understand and support the need to continue to limit the transmission of the virus and to reduce the pressure in the NHS.

What does this mean for us?

The new Government restrictions mean that we will not be able to begin additional face-to-face teaching in mid-February. This means that for taught students, timetables will be updated to make it clear that individual activities will remain online until 8 March at the earliest.

Those students who are already receiving in-person teaching on campus will continue to do so.

The Government continue to advise students not to travel to prevent further transmission of the virus across the country. Please remain where you are, to protect each other and to help to bring the spread of COVID-19 under control. Students who are already at the University should remain in place and not travel away.

Accommodation fees

When the national lockdown was introduced on 4 January, we consulted with the University’s governing body and worked closely with student representatives in the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union to reach an agreement that, for those who were living in University or FX Plus accommodation, or whose contracts were arranged through the University with a nominated partner, we would waive the rent charges that would be payable during this lockdown period, for those who do not return to their accommodation. I wrote to students on 7 January to confirm this arrangement and to explain the next steps.

Following the announcement on Wednesday we have received approval from the governing body to extend this arrangement and I am pleased to confirm that the accommodation fee waiver will cover the extended period of the national lockdown during which many students have been asked by Government not to return to term-time accommodation. This period began on 4 January and is now expected to stay in place until 8 March at the earliest.

Additional hardship support
Unfortunately, contracts with private accommodation providers are outside of our control. We know that many students who are not in University-managed or nominated rooms are also being impacted by the national lockdown and we know that some students may suffer an additional financial burden because of these measures. In partnership with the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union we have doubled the support available through the  ‘Success for All’ Hardship Fund. If you are suffering additional financial burdens then please reach out for support and apply to the fund. The Students’ Union Advice Service and the Students’ Guild Advice Service are available to offer guidance to students in Cornwall and Exeter respectively on matters including accommodation and finance.

Please also remember that we have wellbeing support in place should you need it. You can find links to a wide range of services on our COVID-19 Wellbeing pages.

Reducing travel between regions of the country remains an important measure that Government has taken to help to combat the spread of COVID-19. The prospect of an extended lockdown period is not one that any of us wanted, but once again I know that the University of Exeter community will pull together to protect those around us.

Best wishes,

Mike

 

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary