By Maggie Sawant, Students’ Union Correspondent
The National Union of Students (NUS) wants students to be given the option ‘to re-do this year at no further cost, with full maintenance support’ or to be reimbursed for one’s years course, college or tuition fees.
The NUS has called for the establishment of a £60m national student hardship fund to help all students currently in further or higher education who are struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.
Of nearly 10,000 NUS members surveyed, 81 per cent of students said they were worried about their future job prospects, 95 per cent are concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and 85 per cent of working students may need additional financial support.
81 per cent of students are worried about their future job prospects
The NUS has also urged the government to provide ‘comprehensive, urgent support for students, as well as an economic package for those who complete their qualifications during the pandemic, providing access to a grant which can be used for training, re-skilling or development.
NUS National President Zamzam Ibrahim said UK students needed a ‘safety net’ because the coronavirus outbreak had hit them financially and had affected the quality of their learning.
‘Face-to-face teaching and assessments have had to be hurriedly moved online, and placement and other practical activity has had to be cancelled.
‘Students have lacked access to key resources, such as libraries and spaces, disabled students have been left unsupported, and students and staff have been struggling with other demands on their finances, welfare and wider lives as lockdown restrictions are enforced.
"Face-to-face teaching and assessments have had to be hurriedly moved online"
‘Students are being forgotten during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are the future workforce that will have to help to rebuild our economy over the coming years.
‘Students must not be forgotten’, Ibrahim added.
In response to the comments made by the NUS, a Department for Education spokeswoman said: ‘We understand that this is a difficult time for students and we are working tirelessly with the sector to ensure students are supported and able to complete their studies.’
Earlier this month, the Scottish government announced a £5m package of emergency financial support to help students facing hardship because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Featured image: Good Free Photos/ Unsplash
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