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Student Advice Centre FAQs

Below are some FAQs covering concerns, questions, and issues for many Newcastle University students.

If your question has not been answered below and you need further advice, you can book an appointment with an adviser using the booking form at the bottom of the page. Appointments are primarily through Microsoft Teams (all University students have an account): Chat, Call, or Video, although you can request face to face if needed. 

Keep reading to see our FAQs on housing, finance, academic, and personal issues.  We will also periodically update the FAQS on topical issues such as Covid and potential Strike Action

Housing FAQsFinancial FAQsAcademic FAQsPersonal Health FAQsImmigration FAQs

 

 

Housing Advice

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Last updated 18 February 2021

Generally speaking if you have decided to move out of your accommodation, this does not mean the contract is now null and void.  Unless a surrender/termination of the tenancy has been expressly agreed with your landlord or provider then the contract continues along with all its’ responsibilities and liabilities.  Try not to compare your situation to another student.  Circumstances might seem or be unfair, but we are dealing with a situation that could not have been predicted or planned for and given the complex and diverse nature of the housing market the various responses were never going to be equal or the same.  Whilst the stereotype of a landlord being out to take advantage of a tenant might be very entrenched in our culture, please try to remember that landlords have their own commitments and families to support.  Unless the landlord or housing provider has denied you something in regards to your tenancy, they haven't actually done anything wrong and the situation should not be used to renege on what has been agreed between the parties.  All parties – that includes landlords and tenants or prospective tenants should not be disadvantaged by something outside of their control. This is the Student Advice Centre view on housing at this current point in time and this is not a legal perspective and anyone is free to seek out legal advice.  A solicitor can be found via the Find a Solicitor search on the Law Society web page.

With most housing queries it is important that you contact your letting agency first as they may have steps in place to help you.

Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus.

We always hear that students aren't completely happy with their private housing experiences, but we need you to tell us about them through our online form if you want us to make a difference. You can let us know here. Let's not forget about all our students who can’t get home to be near their families and loved ones or are distanced from people because of self-isolation. Support each other remotely where you can.

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.

 

 

A:  No.  The Student Advice Centre staff cannot change contract law and legislation.  We can only advise on what your current position is and what options you might have.  

A:  The University has a range of Wellbeing self-isolation support in place to support you from activities and events, mental health support and counselling to various online resources.  There is also lots of links to resources on the NUSU Covid 19 hub

A:  Generally speaking no.  However, if you are in University owned and managed accommodation, then their contract and Terms and Conditions are slightly different, and you will usually be charged until the end of the current termly billing period in which you withdraw from study, unless you find a replacement before that time. Please do not assume your school will notify the Accommodation Service – you will need to do this.  Whereas in managed partnership accommodation (i.e.allocated by the University but not managed by them), private halls or private properties let via landlords or agents, you are likely to be held to the full duration of your contract.  Always check the terms of your contract, any terms and conditions or cancellation policy.  The terms and conditions of your contract might permit a replacement to take over your tenancy but charges might apply for this.  Any charges that do apply, are restricted by the Tenant Fee Act 2019 – see guidance for tenants.  

A:   First of all check your contract and terms and conditions and?cancellation policies. Purpose Built Student Accommodation often has a limited cancellation policy whereas houses and flats let via landords and agents do not. There is an argument to say that if you have not been able to arrive by virtue of having a VISA denied or being unable to apply for one and/or your home and host governments preventing travel, that the contract might be frustrated. However, you will need to prove this. Simply not having applied for a VISA or having decided not to come is not the same and you would be liable for the contract. This can be complicated and you might want to book in with an Adviser or get some legal advice

A. If you have a contract you are liable for the rent.  If your landlord has not agreed to a surrender of the tenancy or a delayed/reduced rent payment then you could be pursued for the unpaid rent and breach of contract.  The maintenance loan is paid for you to pay for these types of outgoings.  

A: No. If you pose a direct risk of transmitting Covid-19 you should not move. People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating with their family members should not leave their homes to either move home or undertake property viewings. Follow the government giodance on what you can or cannot do.he government guidance on home moving during the virus. 

Even if you are contractually committed to moving home, you should delay your move until all members of your household have come to the end of their self-isolation period. All parties involved in the moving process are asked to make arrangements and to consider changing move dates for individuals, or where someone in a chain or their family member is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus. If the dates are not able to be changed then the contract might have to commence without you moving in and you will still be liable for the rent. 

Should a move be essential  please contact Public Health England/local public health teams for advice. 

A:  Even though we have moved to step 4 of the governments roadmap out of lockdown, we cannot know if circumstances will change and if further lockdowns might be necessary. So this is a very difficult question to answer. ?Some people have felt paying for accommodation this year has not been worthwhile whilst others still see the benefit of living independently or in a new place.??We advise you to think very carefully before you decide what to do. We have seen throughout this crisis an expectation by students’ that rents and contracts should be waived because of the changing situation but this is simply not the case. If you sign a contract ?you?can reasonably be expected to understand that the pandemic may continue to affect your commencement/occupation of that property due to a variety of factors.?If you?intend to sign a contract we advise you to discuss and agree on the terms very carefully. Flexibility policies and clauses that would allow you to change your contract start date might be an option along with the ability to cancel should you not move in but these are not something you can demand.??These are more likely to be offered in Private Halls rather than individual houses and flats.??You could try to negotiate an early break clause into your contract?so?you could end your contract earlier than an agreed term,?You?can?book?in with a Student Adviser?if you wish to discuss this more.

A: Letting agents may also want to consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory check-in /out arrangements to occur before a tenant moves in or out during vacant periods if possible. A copy of all documents should then be sent to the incoming/outgoing tenant for comment along with supporting dated photographs and where necessary documentary evidence. It is very important this process is not side-lined or missed entirely as deposits could be at risk.

A:  Tenants’ safety should be Housing managers / Letting Agents’ and Landlords’ first priority.?The?government guidance on coronavirus and renting?for landlords, tenants and local authorities, has yet to be updated .?? but as a minimum should all parties should adhere to stay safe and prevent the risk of spread guidance? 

Steps should be taken to ensure any properties are prepared ready for new tenants’, this may include cleaning to minimize any potential spread of the virus in line with government advice?and management of legionella risks. Ask your landlord or agent what steps they have taken to minimise risk to coronavirus. Standard documentation and processing for sign up and pre-tenancy should be done remotely/electronically wherever possible? 

A. After a hiatus in 2020, the NUSU Leave Newcastle Happy campaign is  running currently.? In partnership with the British Heart Foundation some donation banks are available.  Other?local charity collection points and bins may be open?but these are limited.?Newcastle City Council has 3 Household Waste Recycling Centres?(HWRC) -?be?sure to?follow?a?number of?specific?coronavirus?measures?in place to ensure social distancing, reduce the spread of Covid-19, and keep both staff and visitors safe.? 

ID is required?– Visitors will have to show both a passport or other photo ID (student ID would suffice)?and a recent council tax or utility bill to be allowed in. A photocard driving licence with address on is acceptable on its own. If you do not live in?Newcastle?then you will be turned away. 

Any resident showing symptoms should not attempt to access a HWRC and follow Government guidelines onself isolation. If you have rubbish from a household where someone is suspected of having had COVID19, please double bag potentially affected items, such as cloths, tissues, and masks, and leave for 72 hours before disposal in your green general waste bin or at a HWRC.? 

If people don’t have access to transport to get to waste/recycling?centres?but have excess waste that won’t fit or is unsuitable for the domestic bins, you can arrange for?bulky waste collection at a charge. Find out more Newcastle council Bulky Waste Collections page.

Please do not fly tip/abandon items in streets or back lanes as you could be fined.

A. We are aware that many students have lost their part time jobs or other sources of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Technically you have signed a contract and unless you have been allowed to surrender this you are required to make all payments as usual.?Firstly,?contact your landlord, agent or provider to see what they suggest – they may reduce the payments and/or allow you to pay over a longer period. They might even consider reducing the tenancy term if they won’t release you. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, including living costs as a result of the current disruption, you may be eligible for support from the University’s?Student Financial Support, often referred to as the Hardship Fund.?Universities have been a higher?allocation?this year to?deal?with hardship related to Covid.??The team are receiving a high number of?applications?but they aim to respond within 10?working days. If you don’t?pay?you housing provider  may decide to pursue a legal?route,?so it is always best to negotiate.

A. Possibly but probably not! It will depend on exactly what has been agreed/signed. If you are a prospective tenant and have viewed a house and paid a holding deposit but are yet to sign a tenancy agreement, you have effectively entered into a verbal commitment for the tenancy. Some may hold you to the tenancy until it is re-let, some will re-let the property and simply retain the holding deposit. Check your paperwork and speak to the landlord/agent to see what the position is. Either way please get what has been agreed in writing. You can still negotiate with your landlord to see if they will re-let the property but they do not have to. Also if they are not able to find a replacement tenant they may hold you to the contract.

A. No the deposit cannot be released until the tenancy ends, so unless your landlord is agreeing to a mutual surrender of the tenancy then the deposit must remain protected by the scheme and cannot be used as part payment or rent or to offset against rent arrears.

A. Yes, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have provided a lot of information and support.  Newcastle University also have up to date information on how they can specifically support International Students. If you have a specific housing question, please contact the Student Advice Centre but please note we cannot advise on anything related to Immigration.

 

 

Financial Advice

Last updated 24 May 2021

 

A. Once during a course lifetime you can apply for a Change of Circumstances in your student finance. If your parents or your income has reduced by at least 15% then you can request a reassessment of your funding from your funding source i.e SFE, SF Wales, SF Ni, or SAAS.

  • So if your household income changes - your parents or partner must:
  • correct any mistakes relating to their household income;
  • tell your funding source (e.g. SFE) if they think their household income will be at least 15% lower than the tax year they submitted details for;
  • this can be done on the Student Loan portal

Students can also apply to the university hardship fund* (the Student Financial Support Fund) whilst your change of circumstance is being processed. When applying you should state that is what you are doing. *you can only apply once you are a registered student*

A: In accordance with the UKRI guidance issued on the 24th April 2020, if you were/will be in receipt of a UKRI funded studentship between the 1st March 2020 and 31st March 2021, you may be eligible for an extension of up to 6 months of funding. Colleagues responsible for UKRI studentships in all 3 Faculties will be in contact with relevant students shortly to confirm the process for requesting this funding extension.

A. No – once you are no longer a student you become a member of the public for council tax purposes and therefore are liable to pay.  This is because once you're no longer studying Full Time you are considered to have the time to get paid work, and have the option of claiming benefits, therefore you are expected to have an income that can pay for council tax.

Categories of people liable include:

  • Part time students
  • Students inbetween courses i.e. undergrad to postgrad
  • Postgraduate Students in the writing up period
  • Recent graduate

To be exempt you MUST:

  • Be a full time student
  • Be on course for more than 21 hours per week for more than 24 weeks in an academic year
  • Be in Higher Education

 

You may be able to apply for a council tax reduction if you are on a low income – this discount differs from location to location and you apply via the local council in your area

A. There are a few options you can take:

  1. Make an application to the Student Finance Support Fund (Hardship) .  Here is the application form.  This fund is for students in hardship i.e struggling to pay bills or pay for essentials like food, and can only be accessed once you have registered in September.  This fund is managed by the University not the Students’ Union or the SAC

or

  1. Make an appointment for budgeting advice, debt advice or benefit advice via the online booking form https://form.jotform.com/201984142287055

 

A. Yes the bills still have to be paid such as gas, electricity, water etc as these all have a standing charge for the service provision. However, these may be lower due to smaller usage. within the property

A. Up until August 2021, an EU student loan status stays the same, and will continue to stay the same as long as no changes occur like a suspension or deferral or course change, until the end of the course duration.

However after this deadline any new EU student will be classed as an overseas student , and will not be eligible to apply for student loans

If you are a current student who has a change in the year up to and including after August 2021 you will also lose your right to EU funding.

If you need guidance on EU status with regards to Brexit changes please contact https://www.ncl.ac.uk/international/visa/  as the SAC cannot give Immigration advice

(the guidance changes frequently as the legislation updates – this is current as at April  2021)

A. Yes if you still fulfil the criteria and you will be subject to continuous checks from SLC for the remainder of your course. However any new students will be unable to apply as this scheme is being abolished as from August 31st 2021.

 

A. Unfortunately, most students (lone parents/disabled students have different rules) are excluded from claiming benefits. This means that, even if you have lost your job:
- You cannot claim Universal Credit and therefore;
- You should not claim the Universal Credit Advance Payment – it will become a debt you are expected to repay. 

Similarly, Legacy Benefits (such as Housing Benefit) cannot be claimed by most students and they cannot accept new claims anyway.

Student Lone Parents: are able to claim Universal Credit (including an amount to help with Rent).

Student Couples (Both Students): You will only be able to claim Universal Credit if you have care of a Child.

If you wish to discuss benefit issues please fill in the booking form to make an appointment with the finance adviser.

 

 

 

Academic Advice

Updated 29 September 2021

In general, questions about your academic status, performance, or assessment feedback should be directed to your school office/lecturers- view more here

A.  From the start of Semester 2, penalties for the late submission of work will operate on a sliding scale, with students losing a set number of marks for each day after the deadline an assessment is submitted. The sliding scale for late submission works on the following basis:

• A fixed penalty of a 5% deduction of the final agreed mark, for every calendar day that the work is submitted late.

• Deductions will accrue daily for either a 7 day period, or until the mark reaches the pass mark (40 for undergraduate modules, 50 for integrated masters and PGT modules, and the relevant pass grade for non-modular programmes).

• Work submitted after 7 calendar days should be given a mark of zero.

• 1 day is considered 24 hours after the orginal deadline, for example, if the assessment deadline has been set for 12 noon on Tuesday 23/2/21 a piece of work submitted at 11:59:59 am on Wednesday 24/2/2021 will be deemed to be one day late; a piece of work submitted at 12:00:00 pm on Wednesday 24/2/21 should be deemed to be two days late. This principle will be carried into future years too, although some adjustments might be made after Semester 2 if necessary

A.  The university is has adjusted its regulations for 2020/21 for PGT students to be permitted a single resit attempt for all their taught modules and to allow them to progress to the dissertation/final project carrying fails from the taught modules

A. Although there is no longer a rapid test-site, you can collect a pack of 7 LFT tests from NUSU reception.

A. If you test positive after taking a rapid test, you’ll be asked by the NHS to undergo a PCR test (the regular NHS Covid-19 test) to verify that you have contracted the virus.

You should let the university know as soon as possible if you are having to self-isolate by completing?this  online form.

If you have an urgent need that cannot wait until the next working day (Monday-Friday) – call the university:

• Between 10am and 4pm (Monday - Friday) call the COVID Enquiry Line on 0191 222 5101

Outside of these hours call Security on 0191 208 6817 (available 24/7)

 

A. Teaching is being provided either online or in person, the university has made no plans to refund tuition fees

A. The university has launched an online service which gives access to popular cluster PC software and your University files. The student Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) has most of the software that is available on a standard University cluster PC.  You can log in to it from a PC, laptop or tablet that is connected to the internet via https://go.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/wvd.

A: Please contact your Graduate School Office:

HaSS and SAgE students: gradschool@ncl.ac.uk

FMS students: medpg-enquiries@ncl.ac.uk

 

 

Personal Advice

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.

 

A: There are many organisations and services that are there to support you or someone you care about at this very difficult time. Our personal webpages have a section on bereavement where we list some of these along with links to support within the University.

Newcastle University Grief and Bereavement Guide - This guide is intended to provide some support to help you negotiate the next steps in your bereavement.

YOu can also check out the bereavement resources the Student Advice Centre has put together here.

Download Bereavement Support

A. There is a lot of support out there to help you.  

Suicide Prevention

Student Minds 

Mind

Newcastle University Wellbeing and on line CBT with Silvercloud

Every Mind Matters NHS

Streetwise 

HealthWorks resources

HealthWorks have developed a list of online resources to help families keep active, healthy and happy. More information is available here.  

Citylife Line

Citylife Line is a new service that has been launched by Newcastle City Council, in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, for residents wanting to volunteer their time whilst also providing a service to support residents in need. To register to offer support or to request support, visit the Newcastle City Council website or phone 0191 277 8000.

Health & Well-being

Newcastle City Council have a website page with advice on how to look after yourself and your family during this time, particularly when staying at home, given that some people understandably find social distancing or self-isolation very difficult. At this time more than ever, emotional and mental wellbeing should be considered. The Coronavirus: Looking after yourself website page includes some helpful information and advice on how to do this, much of this from the Mental Health Foundation website.

A. Nightline is running its online chat service, so if you're wanting to chat with someone anonumously and confidentailly click here.  Their service runs from 6pm to midnight during term time.

A. Not all students have been impacted equally by the pandemic. As part of the Student Space programme, Student Minds are launching a new range of innovative, tailored services for students. This includes support for:

Black students, Punjabi students and other racialised and minoritised communities

Trans and gender questioning students

Students from working class backgrounds 

Students who have OCD or BDD (body dysmorphic disorder)

Students who hear voices 

Students with disordered eating

A. Please take a look here at a full list of domestic abuse information. 

A. If you, or someone you know, has recently experienced a loss due to alcohol or drug misuse, there are various support services available to you.  

 DrugFam is a drug and alcohol addiction support website, which primarily provides a lifeline to families, friends and partners affected by someone else’s addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, and in particular, those who have experienced bereavement as a result of substance misuse. 

 The University's Student Health and Wellbeing Service are available for support if you need it. They also have a new mental health support network  TalkCampus  where you can talk to other students from around the world 24/7 about how you are feeling, and to know that, however you may be feeling, you are not alone. You can also email support services at the University using the emails below:

Student Support from pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk   

Additional support for students also continues to be provided by the Student Counselling Team sws.therapyappointments@ncl.ac.uk   

A. Drugs can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially if you believe someone you know has a problem.  FRANK  has great tips on how to approach your friend/family member with your concerns, and also advice on  what to do in an emergency  if someone is having a bad reaction as a result of taking drugs.  

The University's  Student Health and Wellbeing Service iare also available to offer advice if you are concerned about a student, but please be aware that they are not an emergency service. If you are with someone who needs medical help as a result of taking drugs, call an ambulance immediately. They won't tell the police, and it could save their life. 

You can also email support services at the University if you feel you need support as result of someone else’s drug/alcohol misuse using the emails below:

Student Support from pastoral.support@ncl.ac.uk   

Additional support for students also continues to be provided by the Student Counselling Team sws.therapyappointments@ncl.ac.uk   

 

 

 

Immigration Advice

Updated 23 November 2020

The Student Advice Centre cannot advise on any Immigration related queries.  In the first instance, Newcastle University Visa team web pages have a lot of information that is regularly updated including their contact details.

The UK Government has also provided guidance for anyone applying for a UK Visa

The Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – calls are free of charge if made from within the UK).  The Home Office asks that customers check gov.uk first as that is the central source of information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

If you've read through our FAQs and your question has not been answered, please use our booking form.