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This article includes some frequently asked questions that you have been sending us and gives some information on what your Student’s Union is doing for you during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be continually updated with new information and new common questions as we get them.
What are we doing to support students who may feel that they should get a partial refund on their tuition fees?
Together with the University we agree that there should not be a partial refund of tuition fees for all students at Westminster. We would encourage individual students who feel that their course has been significantly disrupted to speak to their Course Leader or Course Representative about their concerns. If you don’t feel that your concerns are being addressed then they can book an appointment with our independent Students’ Union Advice Service who can guide you through the process of submitting a formal complaint to the University.
What is UWSU doing for students during the COVID-19 pandemic?
What are we doing to support students living in student accommodation who may have moved out before the end of their contract?
We have raised this point with our Officers at university committees on behalf of students. As seen in the update to students from the Vice Chancellor on 3 April 2020 the university has now taken action by waiving final instalments of residential fees for students who have had to leave their University of Westminster accommodation early.
Will UWSU support the student petition to get the university to enact a ‘no detriment’ policy as has been seen at other UK universities?
The Students' Union officer team fully supports this motion and is pursuing it as if it is policy of the union. We are working with the University to see how this can be achieved.
What are we doing to help students who have concerns about changes to their course?
We coordinate both Course and School Reps as well as providing the Digital Rep tool. Students who have concerns about anything on their course should post it on Digital Rep and your Course Rep will then raise it with your Course Leader. School Reps are also monitoring issues across multiple courses and raising it with the VP Undergraduate Education and VP Postgraduate Education. Course Reps have already had success in ensuring changes such as the School of Architecture’s Online Studio. If you require access to software to complete assignments (e.g. Adobe Creative Cloud) please look at the University’s Online Learning page here. The independent UWSU Advice Service is also available for anyone who needs advice on their studies.
Can UWSU petition the university to make graduation still happen this summer?
Based on current government advice, the University has taken the decision to postpone this summer’s graduation ceremonies. Whilst disappointing to some, we support this decision to protect our community and observe the government requirements at this stage. Nevertheless, the officer team will work with the University to help ensure that all students get the chance to celebrate their achievements.
As many students are having to look after family members and have caring responsibilities whilst still trying to do their University work at home, what is UWSU doing to support student’s physical and mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic?
Some of you will be worried about your physical and mental health, family and your studies at this time, which means it is easy to become stressed and overwhelmed. This is especially hard as many counties around the world are observing ‘social distancing’. Whilst we cannot see each other face-to-face we are trying to run as many events as we can virtually – for example we have Instagram live updates from our officers, games, blog posts and even pub quizzes from societies. We also have our new Westminster Talks Facebook group where we can all stay connected. Remember, all the University support services are still there for you and the Mitigating Circumstances policy has been updated, so you do not need to submit supporting evidence for coronavirus related circumstances.
What we are doing to help students who have lost their job because of the pandemic and may be facing financial worries?
Your sabbatical officer team has raised this issue with the University on your behalf and we are helping the university to develop guidance that may assist students to access Government support. UWSU is also working with the University so that students in hardship have access to laptops, part-time working opportunities and short-term financial support. Details are available here and on the Student Hub on how to apply for and access financial support.