Update for students on accommodation fees - 7 January 2021
In response to the national lockdown introduced on Monday, 4 January, the University has been reviewing its approach to accommodation fees. We have listened closely to our students and have had helpful and constructive conversations with our partners in the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union. I would like to thank the many students who have given feedback to student representatives and officers which has informed our discussions.
We are acutely aware of and understand the many challenges being faced by our students throughout this period and specifically the concerns that have been raised regarding making payment for rooms that students are being advised by Government not to return to occupy.
We have developed our policy through a detailed process involving engagement with our accommodation partners in Devon and Cornwall, to ensure we can support our students throughout.
I am pleased to say that for those students who are living in University or FX Plus accommodation, or whose contracts were arranged through the University with a nominated partner, we will waive the rent charges that would be payable during this lockdown period, for those who do not return to their accommodation.
This arrangement will cover the period of the national lockdown during which many of you have been asked by Government not to return to your term time accommodation. This began on 4 January and is currently expected to stay in place until mid-February.
- If you are not currently occupying your University accommodation, please do not make a payment for the January invoice.
- If you have already made a payment for the January invoice but have not been able to return to occupy your accommodation, we will adjust your account by the appropriate amount following the lifting of the national lockdown. We’ll set out the process for doing this in due course.
- Some students on specific programmes, or with specific personal circumstances are permitted to return to campus, and some have remained with us over the winter break. They should pay their rent as currently invoiced
- Any student who returns to their accommodation or begins their occupation (for example in the case of certain PGT programmes) during the period of the national lockdown will be charged from the date of arrival.
We will issue further communications with details of how student accounts will be adjusted to reflect these changes at the end of the national lockdown period.
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 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.
Reducing the numbers of people travelling between regions of the country is an important measure Government has taken to help to combat the spread of COVID-19. The University of Exeter community has consistently pulled together to protect those around us from infection, and I hope that this additional support helps those of you in University accommodation to continue to do so.
Registrar and Secretary