NUS MEMBERSHIP UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) 26 March 2020
Our number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of the students and apprentices we represent, so we have been working closely with institutions, trade unions, national sector bodies like Universities UK and the Association of Colleges, the Student Loans Company, and the government to inform our response to Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Here’s an update of what we are doing on your behalf to ensure your interests are represented as we tackle this pandemic:
- NUS UK National President Zamzam Ibrahim and NUS Wales President Rob Simkins met with the Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company yesterday to discuss how they are working on business contingency at Student Finance England and Student Finance Wales, while they are unable to run their contact and processing centres at full strength. This was followed up by a further operations meeting today where detailed work including DSAs, evidence requirements, and ensuring third term payments are made, was discussed
- We’re developing a position on university exams with students and students’ unions, and want to amplify your stances on this nationally, therefore we’re asking SU officers to fill in this feedback form
- We've been in contact with Stand Alone to discuss how we can support the work they have been undertaking with the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers to support students without family structures during the pandemic
- We’re meeting with Ofqual, the examinations regulator, to discuss the grading process for GCSEs, A-Levels and vocational qualifications.
- NUS Scotland has launched a #NotStayingNotPaying campaign for students to be released from rental contracts early. Get involved.
- We’ve been working on a collaborative document with officers throughout Wales to get a clearer picture of the accommodation landscape at the moment, which institutions and private providers have been issuing refunds for final term rent, and where there is still work to be done
- Rob has also circulated the Welsh Government’s FAQ page to members to ensure they have sight of official guidance, and circulated NUS UK communications about exams to members.
- In NUS-USI we met with the Economy Minister yesterday to put forward a range of student issues, from finance to unemployment and accommodation
- We also received confirmation from the Economy Minister that EMA payments will continue to be paid as normal. She also agreed to write to universities and colleges asking them to ensure hardship grants are available to students who need them
- Today we have written to the First and Deputy First Ministers about the problems facing student renters
- The NI Executive is placing answers to FAQs related generally to coronavirus on its hub. There's also a hub with advice specific to educational institutions.
- The Q&As from last week's Covid-19: Our priorities as your union webinar are now on Connect
- The government has published guidance on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (Covid-19)
- We’re awaiting the release of additional government information on support, and clarification for institutions on how they approach monitoring and reporting. In the meantime, you can check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus
- The Covid-19 Student Survey will be launched tomorrow. We’ll be providing a pack for you to use to promote the survey in Friday’s update. You’ll also find it on the hub and in workplace.
- The countdown is on to our virtual National Conference taking place next Tuesday 31 March (Elections) and Wednesday 1 April (Conference Business). The event will take place via our conference website which has all the content you need to participate.
- Voting is now open for National President, Vice President Further Education and Vice President Higher Education, as well as Policy. Voting for the National Scrutiny Council and Democratic Procedures Committee seats will close 6 April
- A reminder that we've published a guide to help you get the most out of your participation at this year's digital National conference.