The Somerset Guardian, 10th February 2021

This week, the Government’s announced that it is giving £50million of hardship funding to higher education providers to support students who have been affected by the pandemic. 
The new amount is in addition to the £20 million announced in December 2020, bringing the total to £70 million on top of the existing £256 million premium funding already available to students for this academic year.

The Government acknowledges the impact that Coronavirus has made and how difficult the challenges have been for students, not only in terms of learning and studying but also financially, which is why its decision to increase spending is welcome news. The money will be allocated by the Office for Students and universities will continue to have flexibility in how and to whom they distribute it, including international students and postgraduates, ensuring that it prioritises those in greatest need.

The Government concluded that higher education providers are best placed to decide which students can benefit, most likely those who are facing additional costs arising from maintaining accommodation in more than one location or have not been able to maintain their employment.

I was also pleased to learn that a number of universities and accommodation providers have already offered rent refunds for students who have been asked not to return and that the Government continues to encourage all the other universities and large-scale private accommodation providers to so the same. We must continue to help one another during these trying times and the Government is leading by example.

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