The Coronavirus pandemic has changed everyday life dramatically – it’s a very confusing and anxious time for many, and although the primary focus is health, there is likely to be an impact on money too.
However, we have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions which can help if you have any queries about finances during this time.
Please be aware that although content featured here is correct on the date of posting, details may be subject to change over the next few weeks and months as the situation changes; however, the websites linked to in this post are frequently updated.
When will I get my next term’s funding?
Student Finance have confirmed that the next instalment of maintenance funding is due to be paid at the beginning of term as scheduled (if you enrolled on your course in September or October, this will be 20 April).
For further information, see SLC’s FAQs.
Will this change now that I’m not attending classes on campus?
Although the University has moved all teaching and assessments online for the third term, this will not affect the amount of Maintenance loan that you have been assessed to receive. This is regardless of whether you have moved back home, are living in Halls or private sector accommodation for the third term.
For further information, see SLC’s FAQs.
I’ve been trying to contact Student Finance, but I can’t get through.
Like many organisations – including the University – Student Finance has had to change working procedures in order to assess applications and answer queries remotely; unfortunately, this has meant that their contact centres were temporarily closed. However, they have now re-opened, but are currently offering a partial service only.
I’m receive funding as a Migrant worker, but I can’t work due to the Coronavirus pandemic. How will this affect my funding?
Student Finance have advised that they are currently awaiting guidance on Migrant workers from the government and will advise when there is further information available.
My parent/ partner has lost their job – how will this affect my funding?
Student funding is usually assessed based on income from a previous tax year (for 2019/20, this was 2017/18 tax year) – if one or both of your sponsors’ income has now reduced by 15% or more since then, you can ask to be reassessed based on your household’s current year income.
To request reassessment, download and complete a ‘CYI’ form and send with any relevant evidence to Student Finance.
Can I still apply for funding for next year?
Student Finance have confirmed that they are assessing applications for student funding for 20/21 academic year; therefore if you are continuing your studies next year, you can apply now to ensure that your funding is ready before you enrol on the next academic year (the deadline is still 22 May 2020).
I’ve left my student house to move back home – do I still have to pay rent if I’m not living there?
If you were living in rented private sector accommodation and you have now moved home due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, you are still liable to pay rent until the end of your contract. If you contact your landlord or letting agency, they may agree to release you from your contract, or you may be able to negotiate a reduced rent; however, this is entirely at their discretion so cannot be guaranteed.
I’ve been working, but I’m not getting any more hours due to the pandemic – can I apply for furlough?
Often students balance work alongside their studies, but with the shutdown affecting many industries such as retail, hospitality, and office admin, it is likely that many have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs.
The good news is that the government have announced various measures to support affected workers, including a furlough scheme. For further information, see the Government’s website, and Money Saving Expert.
Where can I find a job?
Although numerous job opportunities have dried up due to the pandemic, many employers are currently recruiting – especially supermarkets and delivery companies – however, competition for these jobs is likely to be fierce.
For further information, contact job agencies or local employers directly. Unitemps are advertising vacancies for internships, and Changemaker Hub are available to support and guidance with CVs, interviews, and career planning.
I can’t afford to pay off my credit card bill – what should I do?
If you owe money on credit cards, loans, or an overdraft which you cannot currently afford to pay back due to the current pandemic, you can contact your bank or lender to request a three-month payment holiday. Mortgage holders may also request a holiday from their lender if they’re struggling financially.
For further information, see Money Saving Expert.
What can I do to prepare financially for the new term?
With the beginning of term fast approaching, it’s a good idea to make a new budget as you may have changes to your income (such as loss of expected earnings if you’re not working) or your expenditure (your travel costs might be reduced as you’re staying at home, but you might be spending more on food and utilities). Even if you don’t think your expected income and expenditure will change much, revisiting your budget at the beginning of each term is a good habit to acquire.
If you’d like some tips on setting up a budget, our Money Matters blog has lots of information to help; these include How do I budget, Apps to help you save money, 5 good money habits to start, and Mend your spending habits.
Where can I find further help from the University?
However, although our buildings may now be closed, the University of Northampton can offer support online. The Financial Guidance team are still available if you have queries about student funding and finances – we are working remotely, but still available by email. Please be aware however that response times may be delayed as we are currently experiencing an increase in enquiries and Fund applications.
If you have any queries about applying for benefits or would like guidance on debt management, Citizens Advice Northampton can offer advice by phone or email. For further details on making an appointment, see our Finances page.
Other Student Services teams, including Student Support and Advice, and the Counselling and Mental Health team, can also offer online support.
For further FAQs and updates on the University’s planned operations during the Coronavirus pandemic, see our Situation Updates page.