LUU should join the NUS in lobbying the Government for the fair treatment of students during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Passed: May 2020 (12th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

New NUS research shows only 35% of students are confident that the Government is acting in the interest of students. We believe Student Unions have a key part to play in lobbying the Government to change this.

The NUS has just launched a Student Safety Net Campaign based on the principles of ‘re-do, reimburse, write-off’. This includes lobbying the Government to implement a national hardship fund, accessible to all students who are currently in further and higher education. This includes:

  • The option for every student, in every part of education, to redo this year at no further cost, with full maintenance support, while ensuring those returning to education next year receive high-quality education, training and support.

  • Reimbursement of one year’s course, college or tuition fees for students who have paid upfront, or a write-off of one year’s debt for those who have paid through loans.

We strongly believe the quality of our education must be maintained and supported by the Government. We know that our student body is facing extreme anxiety around their academic experience, with many students struggling to stay motivated or focused in unsuitable home environments. At the time of writing, Leeds has described a ‘no-detriment’ and ‘safety-net’ policy, however many students remain very anxious that they will be disadvantaged without appropriate, clear mitigation.

Many students have lost jobs in casual employment and are not eligible for Government schemes like Universal Credit. 55% of respondents to the NUS survey reported having finances impacted by furlough, unpaid leave, hour reductions, or redundancy, and the same amount reported that the income of those who financially support them has been impacted. We strongly advocate for the return of maintenance grants to ensure all students can have access to higher education without any further barriers. The uneven playing-field is heightened and the loss of grants is critically felt. Many students are having to pay rent (which for many has already risen above the average yearly loan) on houses they are no longer using, with a worrying lack of flexibility reported from landlords. 72% of students are now worried about their ability to pay rent and we support the NUS’ calls for action on student renters.

Opportunities for employment must be created on the back of this crisis. As we are likely to face a financial recession, many students are scared and anxious at the prospect of the job market they are about to enter with over a quarter of businesses already reducing the number of graduates they recruit this year.

Expires: May 2023 (12th)

Submitted By: Student Exec

Officer: All

Area of Work: Support

Updates

August 2020: LUU Student Exec actively involved in promoting the NUS Complaint Chain campaign.

May 2020: LUU has continued to provide support and Advice for students, though staff from across most areas of the organisation have been on furlough across the summer.

May 2020: New Policy