COVID-19 Financial support

In line with a return to pre-pandemic teaching and support mechanisms, the University’s COVID-19 specific support schemes closed (COVID-19 Scholarship Extensions Fund (CSEF) and COVID-19 Assistance Fund (CAF)) in summer 2022 and there is no longer a grace period adjustment to the University Continuation Charge (UCC).

For academic year 2022/23, students should refer to the standard support channels for extensions or if they are in financial difficulty, which will take account of exceptional disruption due to COVID-19. 

To recognise the particular ongoing disruption faced by some research students close to completion, targeted financial support will be available through the University Continuation Charge (UCC) support scheme. Details about the scheme and how to apply are provided below.

University Continuation Charge (UCC) Support Scheme  

Overview of scheme

The UCC support scheme launched in September 2022  and aims to provide support to research students facing continued disruption in the 2022/23 academic year due to the pandemic. 

The scheme is designed to cover the costs of the UCC for affected research students close to completion who are experiencing financial difficulties in paying the UCC (£548 per term in 2022/23). 

Requests for support will be made via the student’s college hardship officer who will review a student’s situation and consider the disruption they have faced as a result of the pandemic before approving a UCC support grant for eligible students to cover the UCC in full for the applicable term. 

How do I know if I am liable for the University Continuation Charge (UCC)?

The UCC is payable by research students who have reached the end of their standard period of fee liability, do not have a waiver in place from their division and have not submitted their thesis by end of Friday 0th week of the forthcoming term in accordance with guidance set out on the Continuation charges webpage. Full details about the UCC can also be found at this page.

All research students who are liable for the UCC in the forthcoming term will be contacted directly regarding their liability by the Student Fees team around 4 weeks before the start of term.

Please note that you may also be liable for the College Continuation Charge (CCC) and should contact your college directly for further information about this. 

Am I eligible to apply the UCC support scheme?

The UCC support scheme is open to research students liable for the UCC who fulfil all of the following criteria:

  • experiencing financial difficulty and therefore unable to meet the UCC costs; and
  • facing continued disruption in 2022/23 or delay to progress from previous disruption due to the pandemic; and
  • not already in receipt of a COVID-19 Scholarship Extension Fund (CSEF) award or any other award which comprises UCC support, for the term in question.

Please note the scheme is open to both research students who are self-funded and those whose scholarship funding has now come to an end.

How do I apply?

For Hilary term 2023, the Student Fees and Funding team will contact students from mid-December to notify them of their liability for the UCC, and will request that payment is made by Friday 1st Week of term (20 January 2023) unless they are pursuing a UCC support grant.

Students who believe that they meet the criteria outlined above should:

  1. contact their college hardship officer to request a review of their situation and consideration for a UCC support grant.
  2. notify the Student Fees and Funding team at the same time that they are making an application for a UCC support grant.

Students liable for the UCC in Trinity term 2023 will be notified of their UCC liability approximately 4 weeks before the start of term, and should follow the process as described above.

How am I assessed and what happens next?

Once you have approached your college hardship officer for consideration for a UCC support grant, they will review your circumstances and your financial situation, based on information they will request from you. Information considered may include the following and it is at the college’s discretion as to whether any evidence is required to support this review:

  • an outline of the disruption to your studies due to the pandemic

  • a summary of your sources of funding and level of income towards living costs for remainder of studies and UCC

  • confirmation that you do not hold savings or have other funds available to you that you have not accessed. This ensures priority can be given to those most students most in need

  • whether you wish to be considered for further support beyond the UCC support scheme

The college hardship officer will notify the Student Fees and Funding team directly if they approve your request for a UCC support grant and payment of the UCC will be arranged directly on your behalf. You will be notified of the outcome of your UCC application and any approved UCC support grant by your college. If your request is unsuccessful, you will be contacted by the Student Fees team to request payment of your UCC as normal.

Please note that allocation of a University grant to cover the University Continuation Charge does not remove a student’s liability to pay the College Continuation Charge (CCC).  

What if I am experiencing financial difficulties beyond the UCC?

If you are experiencing further financial difficulties in meeting the College Continuation Charge (CCC) or your living costs, please make your college hardship officer aware of this when applying to the UCC support scheme.  Your college hardship officer can explore local funding opportunities and signpost central Oxford Hardship Fund provision as appropriate.

Can I make a repeat application to the UCC support scheme in a subsequent term?

Due to limited availability of this COVID-19 response funding for research students, any further requests for UCC support in a subsequent term from students already in receipt of a UCC support grant may require a fuller financial assessment of income and expenditure. Such students may only be granted a further UCC award in exceptional cases to help ensure that these funds continue to be prioritised for those most in need, who have not previously accessed this support. This is at the discretion of the college hardship officer.

Who can I contact for further advice about the UCC support scheme?

Please contact your college hardship officer in the first instance, who will be able to assist you with reviewing your circumstances and eligibility for support. If you are unsure who this is, please refer to the College hardship funding webpage for further details.