University students with no support hit hard by impacts of strikes and Covid-19

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Written by Sila Kiss

Universities are now preparing for the next educational year after the sweeping impacts of Covid-19. Cambridge lectures will be held online all year, Manchester will have online education in Autumn, and University of Brighton is planning a controlled reopen on September 28th, with teaching beginning from Monday 5th October 2020. 

While universities are struggling with planning, students are increasingly concerned with their ongoing situation. Deadlines to decide to enrol in a university program have been pushed back to the 18th of June. Experts are urging attendants to call their respective universities to cancel if they have since decided to not to attend. Many young adults are considering taking a gap year, largely because the government has said that university students still have to pay full-price fees even if the courses are held online. 

The Student Academic Experience Survey has been recording the views of students since 2006. Between 4 February and 11 March 2019, before Covid-19 even existed, the survey showed a decline in satisfaction with value for money, down from 41% to 39%, with another 30% thinking it was neither good nor bad value. 

Staff members from 74 universities went on strike during the most recent school year, and around one million students were impacted by this. Academicians and lecturers were demanding an improvement in their pay, pensions, and working conditions. The action started on Thursday 20 February and continued intermittently until the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of the universities. 

Students have not been able to apply for any help tailored for their needs during the Covid-19 crisis. There are government funds for the self-employed and furloughed employees, but many students are being fired from their part time jobs due to the pandemic, and they can not claim any help. There are no part-time hospitality jobs up for grabs at the moment, and internships have all been put on hold. A student who collected 330,000 signatures for a refund of university fees said she has been completely ignored by the institution.

Many university students are being required to pay rent on their empty rooms, and are only given some of the lectures expected of their courses online while still paying in full. This is not likely to end any time soon, either, as they need to pay next years fees in full as well even if everything is online and they have no access to campus facilities.

While the PM is focused on trying to save the economy, the UK’s students are being forgotten. 

Featured Image: © Pixabay

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